The Sinking of the Bee Line Transportation Company's 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.