A story on CBC caught my eye this morning. Basically, the Thousand Islands chapter of Save Ontario Shipwrecks is lowering concrete statues into the St. Lawrence River near Brockville to give divers something to hold onto other than the shipwrecks when they’re diving. Wooden shipwrecks are much more fragile than they look, so any contact with them contributes to the overall deterioration of the wreck. Shipwrecks near Brockville are popular dive destinations, particularly for new divers who may have not yet mastered buoyancy control, especially in a current.
When I was actively diving, I was a member of Save Ontario Shipwrecks and served on their board of directors for a few years. The group is dedicated to the preservation of underwater cultural heritage, which includes shipwrecks, submerged villages and structures like the old canals in the St. Lawrence River, and things like old aboriginal fishing weirs. Their activities included training divers on how to properly record shipwrecks and the like, outreach activities to encourage people not to remove things from shipwrecks (that’s illegal in Ontario), and special mooring buoys so that boaters don’t have to drop an anchor near (often on) a shipwrecks. Installing these statues is a creative solution to the problem of divers touching the wrecks. Well done, guys!