Announcement and summary of the Bouquets discovery and sinking

Sound Underwater Survey and the Baccala Wreck Divers formally announce the discovery of the Bee Line Transportation Company’s compartment barge Bouquet

On June 8, 2006 while conducting sidescan sonar operations in Block Island Sound the remains of a previously unknown shipwreck were located.  Subsequent archival research and dive investigation verified the identity of the shipwreck to be that of the Bee Line Transportation Company’s compartment barge Bouquet.

The last in a tow of five barges pulled by the steam tug Hokendauqua, formerly the Robert Lockhart, the Bouquet foundered April 15, 1906 four miles south of Quonochontaug Beach, Rhode Island.  The two crewmen, Captain George Gardiner and Patrick Maguire, both from Providence Rhode Island, safely made landfall in a nineteen foot dory after a long pull in a cold stormy sea.

Today the Bouquet rests beneath 120 feet of cold, dark, water, her fragile remains showing the influence storms and ground fishing tackle can have on a vessel lying for more than one hundred years on the bottom.  The most prominent feature on the wreck today is the 590 tons of nut size coal which, as the shipwreck deteriorated, spread to cover the skeleton of the disintegrating barge.  The windlass, anchor chain, keel, and assorted timbers can, however, still be seen in what remains of the bow. As a wreck dive the Bouquet has little to offer, but as a historical reminder of the perils that were once frequently encountered by bargemen and as a lesson on the rise of the coal trade along the east coast, she is a gem.

Information pertaining to the Bouquet such as news articles, her Certificate of Enrollment, bathymetry data, side scan sonar imagery, and a short underwater video of the wreck can be seen at:

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