Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Science section includes Seafloor Mapping, Oceanography, Deep Sea Coral and Sponges, Wildlife Research, Coastal Habitats, Citizen Science, Ecosystem Processes, Research Surveys, and Research Assets
Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Science section includes Seafloor Mapping, Oceanography, Deep Sea Coral and Sponges, Wildlife Research, Coastal Habitats, Citizen Science, Ecosystem Processes, Research Surveys, and Research Assets
Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Science section includes Seafloor Mapping, Oceanography, Deep Sea Coral and Sponges, Wildlife Research, Coastal Habitats, Citizen Science, Ecosystem Processes, Research Surveys, and Research Assets Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Science section includes Seafloor Mapping, Oceanography, Deep Sea Coral and Sponges, Wildlife Research, Coastal Habitats, Citizen Science, Ecosystem Processes, Research Surveys, and Research Assets

Multibeam Seafloor Mapping
for Shipwrecks 2011

R/V Tatoosh Seafloor Mapping for Shipwrecks
Chief Scientists Nancy Wright, Rick Fletcher, OCNMS; Teacher-At-Sea Karen Rasmussen
Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary

Download the Vicious Fisher Shipwreck Data (107k zip)
Download the Milky Way Shipwreck Data (72k zip)

The rocky and isolated nature of the Olympic Coast combined with fierce weather and heavy ship traffic makes the area around OCNMS a graveyard for ships. More than 180 wrecks have been documented historically, but few have actually been tracked or mapped. The U.S. Department of Interior's Historical Preservation Act of 1998 requires federal agencies to identify and protect the historic, archaeological, architectural and cultural value of properties on federally managed lands. The challenge for OCNMS has been carrying out this requirement for properties such as shipwrecks that lay hundreds of fathoms beneath the sea.

Multibeam image of the Temple Bar shipwreck
Shallow multibeam imagery highlights remains of 1939 Temple Bar shipwreck
With the newly acquired ability of the R/V Tatoosh to conduct high resolution multibeam surveys, a search for the SS Temple Bar was initiated south of LaPush. Temple Bar had grounded, was salvaged and abandoned in 1939 in the Quillayute Needles. Several days of searching revealed the remains of the 119 m (390 ft) vessel in less than 10 m water.

The F/V Milky Way, a 22.25 m (73 ft) commercial fishing vessel that sank in 2005, was also located in 2011 using multibeam sonar. Underwater currents and shifting substrate rendered the Milky Way's last known coordinates incorrect and the search for the wreck took two days of concentrated mapping. The vessel was located in 58 m (190.28 ft) of water, too deep to acquire the definitive shape or resolution of the vessel. Its final resting place is a sandy depression at 124° 45' 50.874"W 47° 51 55.859N.

Sidescan sonar image of a sunken ship
Sidescan image of the Milky Way sunken ship
The F/V Vicious Fisher was lost at sea in February 2011, 17 nautical miles northwest of LaPush, Wa. It was located after several days of searching at 125° 0' 40.93"W 48° 3' 13.37"N, sitting upright in 102 m (334.65 ft) of water with its mast rising 16 m (52.5 ft) off the bottom.

All data were processed in ArcGIS 10, NAD83 UTM10. For information, contact Nancy Wright.



Contact for page content: Nancy Wright
photo of a buoy on the ocean
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