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

Explore Shipwrecks: Alva B

Ship Information

Ship Name: Alva B 
Also Known As: None 
Type of Ship: Tug, Steam, Wooden construction  
Ship Size: 73.5' x 18.4' x 10.5' 
Ship Owner: American Towing Co., Buffalo, NY 
Gross Tonnage: 83 
Net Tonnage: 41 
Typical Cargo: None 
Year Built: 1890 - Dry Dock, Buffalo, N.Y.  
Official Wreck Number: 106738 
Wreck Location: 41 30.759 N 82 01.923 W (Kelch et. al., personal dives) 
Type of Ship at Loss: Steam Tug, Wooden  
Cargo on Ship at Loss: None 
Captain of Ship at Loss: Barrington 
The Shipwreck Today:

Waves and ice scour have taken their toll over the years. Scattered remains, including some timbers, planking, the steam boiler and other various engine parts in 10-12 FOW on a bottom of mostly sand, rock and gravel. The boiler can be a navigation hazard during periods of low water levels.

This is yet another interesting wreck for novice divers and snorkelers, as visibility is usually fair to good. (Note: the Sarah Sheldon, offshore of Sheffield Lake, is also shallow, accessible for novice scuba divers and snorkelers, and is relatively close to the Alva B. The wrecks of the Prince, Adventure and Hanna, all nearshore of Kellys Island, are also shallow and provide good opportunity for novice scuba and snorkeling. All of these wreck sites can be found on this website)

The Alva B wreck provides habitat for a number of Lake Erie fish species, including smallmouth bass, rock bass, sheepshead, sunfish, the non-indigenous round goby, and others. Like other nearshore, shallow water wreck sites, anglers will also visit the location. Make sure you fly the diver-down flag, and keep someone on board to flag away unknowing anglers, curious boaters and jet skiers.

As the wreck is covered by zebra and quagga mussels, divers should use caution. If you're a fish watcher, the Alva B, along with the other mentioned nearshore, shallow wreck sites, are well worth the visit; especially for kids who are interested in snorkeling to see "what's under the surface" of Lake Erie.

Unfortunately, the propeller and anchor from the Alva B were taken in the early 1970's by a group of residents from Avon Lake. Fortunately, however, the propeller sits on permanent display at the Miller Road Park in Avon Lake, with her anchor and anchor chain located at a prominent Avon Lake Resort, formerly know as the Aqua Marine Resort. These artifacts, although best to remain at the original shipwreck site, provide shipwreck curious non-divers, maritime history buffs and others to visibly observe past maritime history.

(Source: Kelch, personal dive experience)


Foundered Nov. 1, 1917, off Avon Point, Avon Lake, Ohio. There are conflicting stories of the event. One states that amusement park lights from the shore were mistaken by the crew and captain for the Cleveland harbor, resulting in the tug grounding in nearshore waters. Had reportedly lain for some time at Sandusky, OH, and hull had dried out; began leaking during a gale while en-route from Sandusky to Cleveland and was beached in order to save the captain and crew.  
Other than tug service, the Alva B had been used to search for other shipwrecks in Lake Erie. At one time, she collided offshore of Cleveland with the tug American Eagle while both were seeking harbor-bound ships to tow. After the collision, the Alva B took the American Eagle in tow, only to have the American Eagle go down in 36 feet of depth about 1/4 mile northwest of the harbor breakwall. All hands from the American Eagle were rescued by the Alva B.  

1. GLHS/PLESRC Archives and Collections

2. Historical Collections of the Great Lakes BGSU Archives and Collections

3. GLHS files, original news clippings (date/paper name not readable)

4. David Swayze SHIPWRECK 1992

5. Chris Kohl G L Diving

6. Alchem Incorporated: Erie-Huron Shipwrecks;

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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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