SS Beaver Upright 120 Feet Down

SSBeaver on the Bottom

SS Beaver on the Bottom

The SS Beaver (1966) a replica of the first steamship on Canada’s western coast rolled over and sank while moored in Cowichan Bay May 7th 2014 at around 8:30pm. Initially estimated to be in 60 to 80 feet of water some speculated that it was laying on it’s side on the bottom.

Today we can reveal that not only is the ship sitting upright, but also that it is in much deeper water than first anticipated.

The photograph revealing this was made using side scan sonar and was posted to facebook by local resident Tony Owen. It shows the Beaver (white outline) rather clearly resting at 120 feet below the surface. That means the tips of it’s masts are about 40 feet below the wave tops. The black shape seemingly behind the outline of the ship is a reflection of the cellphone that took the photograph of the sonar screen.

Fears of pollution and potential for damage to nearby eelgrass beds appear to be unfounded. No eelgrass grows at 120 feet on the ocean floor and no oil slick or fuel slick has been seen anywhere near the site of the sinking. In fact very little debris have come to the surface since Beaver rolled over.

Speculation in the bay now revolves around what use the wreck might be put to, with local divers suggesting Beaver might make for an interesting underwater tourist attraction. There would be added appeal coming from the fact that Beaver is a genuine shipwreck, as opposed to a purposely prepared and sunken vessel. Beaver may yet prove to be the proverbial silken purse made out of the old sow’s ear.

There are no reports yet of plans to remove the vessel from the sea-floor, an exercise that would undoubtedly cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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