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 
Ship Owner: L.A. Wells Construction Company, Cleveland, Ohio 
Gross Tonnage: 163 
Net Tonnage:  
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 

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


Photo Gallery