Lake George Scuba Diving

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Lake George scuba diving is interesting and diverse. Because of the important roll Lake George played in American history diving in Lake George will take you back to some of those bygone times.

Father Isaac Jogues, a Jesuit missionary christened the lake "Lac du Saint Sacrement" in 1646. During the French and Indian war and again during the American Revolution Lake George, along with Lake Champlain, were two of the most significant water routes in North America. The lake retained the name "Lac du Saint Sacrement" until 1755 when it was renamed "Lake George" by Sir William Johnson in honor of England's King George II.

At the south end of Lake George is where Fort William Henry was located. Troops from this fort would move by the hundreds up the lake to attack Fort Ticonderoga which was 5 miles past the 32 miles of Lake George. Some of the boats they used were called Bateaux. These were flat bottomed, double ended vessels. Old steamer boat DockThey also had floating gun batteries called Radeaux. They were seven-sided with cannon ports in each of the seven sides.

Because the boats couldnít be used in the winter after the lake became frozen, the British would fill the boats with rocks and sink them. This was to prevent them from being destroyed by the French during the winter. When the British started their campaign again in the spring they would refloat the boats.

In the fall of 1758 over 250 boats were sunk. Some of the boats were recovered, but unfortunately, for the British, some of the boats went into deeper water where they couldnít be retreved.

Seven of these Bateaux have been found from "The Sunken Fleet of 1758" and are located about 150 feet northeast of the Wiawaka Holiday House boat house, located on the east side of the lake. Mostly bottom planks remain, it is an easy dive of about 40 ft.

About 1/2 a mile northeast of Tea Island is where the remains of the Radeaux Land Tortoise is located. The Land Tortoise was intentionally sunk in October of 1758 to keep it safe over the winter. But it slipped into deep water and couldn't be located in the spring of 1759 and considered lost. It was not seen again until 1990 when it was rediscovered.

The Land Tortoise has been designated by the Smithsonian Institution as "the oldest intact warship in North America." Registration with the Department of Environmental Conservation, Region 5 is required to dive the Land Tortoise. Their Mailing Address: Route 86, Box 296, Ray Brook, NY 12977-0296. Phone (518) 897-1200. You can register for diving the Land Tortoise at DEC's facility at Lake George Beach from early June through Labor Day. Here is a quote from DEC's Land Tortoise brochure: "This is a cold, deep dive. A safety/decompression stop is recommended. The nearest re-compression chamber is over 150 miles away. Keep this in mind!" The depth of this dive is about 105 feet and water temperature at the Radeaux ranging between 35-45 degrees F.

You can also dive on the 45 foot tour boat Forward. The Forward was built in 1906 and years later, while on a fishing trip it burned and sank. It's located East of Diamond Island. (Look for Lake George DiamondsLake George Bass around Diamond Point). There is little evidence of any fire and the boat is partially intact, the name can still be read on the bow. It is located in about 40 ft. of water.

No permit is required to dive the "Sunken Fleet of 1758" or the "Forward" and is on a first-come-first-served basis. Your dive boat must be tied to the dive site mooring buoy, no anchoring with in 500 feet of the site. Because of the size of these two sites, you must tow a dive flag so bring one along. Additional requirements can be found in "New York's Submerged Heritage Preserves Guide" which you can obtain from the address above.

Visibility in the lake is about 30 ft. Water temp. in the summer may get into the 70ís but there is a thermocline at about 30-40 ft and from there down it gets cold (50ís and below) so if you plan on diving deep bring your gloves and hoods.

More information about shipwrecks on Lake George Joseph W. Zarzynsk and Bob Benwayis have written a book Lake George Shipwrecks and Sunken History

For additional information on Lake George dive sites click on the following links. To return to Lake George-Vacations just close the window.

Additional Dive Sites

Dive shops around the lake are scarce. You can rent gear, get air fills and even a dive charter from Morin's Dive Center in Glens Falls. Here is a link to their web site. Morin's Dive Center. Air fills are also available from Northern Lake George Resort near Hague.

If you need to rent a boat you can rent one boat from one of the area marinas. A pontoon boat makes a great dive platform.



Interesting Facts about Lake George

Lake George has a maximum depth of almost 200 feet with a maximum width of about 3 miles.
The steamer John Jay caught on fire and sank on July 29, 1856 just North of Hague. Some of it is in shallow water and can be snorkeled.


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