Shipwrecks and Maritime Tales of the Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail
Shipwrecks and Maritime Tales of the Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail

Explore Shipwrecks: Craftsman

Ship Information

Ship Name: Craftsman 
Also Known As: Craftsman 
Type of Ship: Steel Derrick Barge, Rebuilt to Derrick Scow in 1946 by L.A. Wells  
Ship Size: Approximately 83'6" x 28'1" x8'2" when first built, and reported at 90'1" x 28'1" x 8'3" when rebuilt in 1946 
Ship Owner: L.A. Wells Construction Company, Cleveland, Ohio 
Gross Tonnage: 163 
Net Tonnage: NA 
Typical Cargo: Work/Repair Barge, Steam Powered Derrick 
Year Built: 1921 - American Shipbuilding Company, Cleveland, Ohio  
Official Wreck Number: 221068 
Wreck Location: 41.31.938 N 82.00.370 W (Kohl) Mooring Buoyed by MAST 
Type of Ship at Loss: Derrick scow 
Cargo on Ship at Loss: Crane and crew  
Captain of Ship at Loss: Derrick crew consisting of John Hendrickson and Lester Young, both from Parma, Ohio 
The Shipwreck Today:

Approximately one mile north of Avon Point at Avon Lake, Ohio, in 42 feet of water. The barges lies upright with winches, steel cable coils and deck hatches visible. Crane is approximately 100 feet due southeast of the barge. A popular wreck site for divers. Rock/gravel bottom.

Wreck structure also a fish attractor for species like smallmouth bass and schools of yellow perch, resulting in the area frequented by anglers as well as divers. Visibility can be good at times (20-30 feet), yet often can be less than 5 feet. Wreck penetration is not recommended. Wreck surface very silty and takes little to stir up.


June 3, 1958, foundered in choppy waters while in tow by the tug boat Toledo to their homeport of Cleveland, Ohio.

The following appeared in the Sandusky Register, June 4, 1958:


Cleveland, Ohio (UPI) The Coast Guard rescued two suburban Parma men from drowning in Lake Erie Tuesday night when their barge sank about two miles east of Avon Point.

"We'd have gone down if the Coast Guard hadn't thrown that buoy to us," John Hendrickson, 32, said following the rescue. Hedrickson and Lester Young, 30, employees of the L.A. Wells Construction Co., were in an 88 foot derrick barge being towed by a tug to a pier. They were returning to their port after installing a gas line in Huron, Ohio.

They fought for an hour to keep the scow afloat and jumped when it began sinking. They were rescued by the crew of a launch from the Lorain Coast Guard station. Sandusky Register, June 4, 1958

Crew rescued by Lorain Coast Guard cutter "Kaw" at 8 PM after a distress call at 7:15 PM. From the tug Toledo. The two crew aboard the derrick barge reported stating to the Coast Guard rescue crew, "It's a good thing you got to us. There was a terrific current pulling us down."


The Maritime Archaeological Survey Team (MAST) conducted an archeological survey of the Craftsman in June, 2004. MAST is a non-profit corporation associated with both the Great Lakes and Ohio historical societies.

The archaeological study and mapping of the Craftsman provides more information regarding Great Lakes shipping history and will be beneficial to divers, historians, and researchers. This wreck is one of the six shipwreck sites where MAST has placed a mooring buoy. Forty-five volunteer divers participated in the survey and mapping project. MAST has a printed brochure available regarding the Craftsman, in addition to other shipwreck sites. (MAST is dedicated to the documentation of Ohio's underwater historic resources.)


Great Lakes Historical Society, Peachman Lake Erie Shipwreck Research Center (GLHS/PLESRC), P.O. Box 435, 480 Main Street, Vermilion, Ohio 44089

Historical Files and Photo Collections

Cleveland Plain Dealer, June 4, 1958

The Great Lakes Diving Guide, Cris Kohl 2001, Seawolf Communications, Inc. P.O. Box 66, West Chicago, Illinois 60186

CLUE: Cleveland Underwater Explorers, David VanZandt and Kevin Magee

Dave Swayze's Great Lakes Shipwreck File Version 19.0

U/W videotape by Andy Dennis of MAST

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The Ohio Sea Grant College Program is located within The Ohio State University. <Ohio Sea Grant Extension is part of Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Sea Grant College Program>.  Ohio Sea Grant is one of 32 programs in the National Sea Grant College Program, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce, all of which are dedicated to the protection and sustainable use of marine and Great Lakes resources.  Ohio Sea Grant uses a combination of research, education and outreach projects to address critical environmental, economic and education issues affecting Ohio, the Great Lakes region and the nation. Sea Grant is a true partnership between universities, government and the private sector. Each year the program supports projects at a number of Ohio colleges, universities and agencies. Also part of Ohio Sea Grant is the university's F.T. Stone Laboratory, located on Gibraltar Island at Put-in-Bay, Referred to as Ohio's Lake Erie Laboratory . Stone Lab was created in 1895, and is the oldest freshwater biological field station in the country. The Laboratory is administered by the School of Environment and Natural Resources in the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at Ohio State University.

The latitude/longitude locations provided within are to the best of our knowledge, yet approximate.  Our sources include file data from GLHS/PLESRC, The Great Lakes Diving Guide by Chris Kohl ,MAST publicly published coordinates dive centers,  private divers and scuba clubs. However, these coordinates should NOT to be used for navigation. The reason for this is coordinates may vary slightly between each information source; due specifically to the fact that individual GPS instruments may perform slightly different from each other, for a variety of reasons.

If you plan to visit one of the shipwreck sites specifically for scuba diving purposes, we advise you contact one of the following for more up-to-date, exact locations and any new wreck information which may be available:



Shipwrecks and Maritime Tales of the Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail
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