The wooden wrecking tug Ottawa
, was originally built as the Boscobel
in May of 1881. With her 600 horsepower steam engine she was one of the largest, most powerful tugboats on the Great Lakes. She was primarily used to raft logs on Lake Michigan. The Ottawa
was bought and sold three times before being purchased by the Reid Wrecking Company in 1903 to be used to salvage other vessels. The Ottawa
became famous for her many rescues and salvage jobs while owned by the Reid Company. The Boscobel's
official registry number was 3152 which was changed to Canadian 116391 when her name was changed to Ottawa
in June of 1903. In 1895 the vessel was valued at $35,000 and rated at A2.
In late November, 1909, the Ottawa
was dispatched, along with the Manistique
, to aid the steamer James H. Hoyt,
disabled on a shoal northeast of Outer Island, part of the Apostle Islands. On the night of November 29, 1909, not long after after freeing the Hoyt
, the Ottawa
caught on fire which rapidly gained headway. The crew managed to escape to the Hoyt
which they had just saved. News of the fire was sent to Bayfield and the tug Reid
was sent to help, but soon after arrival the Ottawa
burned to the water's edge and sank. She was insured for $40,000, however, including wrecking equipment, she was worth some $60,000.
In May of 1910, the Whitney Brothers of Superior were able to salvage some of the Ottawa's
machinery, using the tug Maxwell
and a scow. Then, in September of 1911, the James Reid Wrecking tug Manistique
removed the propeller and remaining equipment.
Most of the Ottawa's
hull structure is resting on sandy bottom 12-16 feet below the surface. The steam machinery was salvaged not long after the Ottawa
burned and sank. Surviving remains include 158 feet of the port side (entire), a 58-foot section of starboard bow, a 65-foot section of starboard side lying parallel and adjacent to the major hull section amidships, a 30-foot section of starboard lying inshore of port fantail, and stern scatter of structural debris to the north of these sections. Aft and east of these sections lies an 85-foot section of wreckage possibly from the starboard lower hull. Other small fragments are scattered to the west and south.
A dive guide for this vessel is available for purchase.