Otter (1863)
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Otter (1863) Schooner. October 1895, 12 miles north, Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal.
By The Numbers
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Built
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Sank
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Lives Lost
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Depth (ft)
 
 
Service History

The wooden two masted schooner Otter was built in 1863 by James W. Scott for David Gallagher, Warren Tremain and James W. Scott all from Marine City, Michigan. Her offical registry number was 19125 and she was rated at B 1 1/2 in 1881. The Otter had spent over thirty years on the Lake and had never received a major rebuild and no longer was rated.

1870: Received new decks.

1878, October: Collision between the schooner Johnson and the Otter. The Otter lost her jibboom, and bowsprit.

1889: Received repairs.

Last Document of Enrollment Surrendered: Chicago: 10/19/1895; "Vessel Lost October 10,1895"
Final Voyage

"On October 10, 1885 the Otter was loading wood for Chicago at a pier in Whitefish Bay,about 12 miles north of Sturgeon Bay Ship canal. During an easterly gale, Capt. William Kaufman pulled out into the bay to anchor... by 8 am her anchor chain broke and she stranded on the beach. An attempt was made to launch the yawl, but a wave filled the boat, capsizing it... several efforts were made by fisherman on shore to launch a boat, but the waves were so high ... the only hope lay in the U.S. Life-Saving Service crew stationed at the Lake Michigan entrance to the canal..." "They found the Otter in imminent danger of destruction by enormous seas sweeping over her, the crew of six men clinging desperatly to the rigging... The canon was brought to bear on the wreck and with the first shot the line fell over the schooner. In a few minutes the breeches buoy was run out, and in this way the crew were safely brought to shore...With every sea making a clean sweep over the doomed vessel, she went to pieces shortly after..." The Soundings Vol. 26 No.1, 1986.
Today

After the Otter was lost and weather conditions permitted, her cargo and salvageable equipment was taken off. Not long afterwards the vessel went to pieces and part of her stern washed ashore. By the end of 1896 no evidence of the wreck was apparent anywhere.
 
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