Isabella J. Boyce

Ship Name: Isabella J. Boyce 
Also Known As: None 
Type of Ship: Launched as a bulk freighter. Converted to a Sandsucker with 425 HP Fore & Aft Compound 19 Cylinder- 32 x 26 stroke at Empire Shipbuilding Company, Buffalo, New York in 1915. 
Ship Size: 138' x 29' x 11' 
Ship Owner: Interlake Sand and Gravel Company 
Gross Tonnage: 368 
Net Tonnage: 316 
Typical Cargo: Sand 
Year Built: 1889 - Burger & Burger, Manitowoc, Wisconsin 
Official Wreck Number: 100446 
Wreck Location: 41 41.831 N 82 46.507 W 
Type of Ship at Loss: Sandsucker 
Cargo on Ship at Loss: None 
Captain of Ship at Loss: William McFadden 
This information will be updated as it becomes available.  

From Bowling Green State University Historical Files of the Great Lakes: "June 6, 1917 on East Point Reef off of Middle Bass Island in Lake Erie. The Isabella J. Boyce grounded on Middle Bass Island in Lake Erie, then caught fire and lies in 10 feet of water. Wreck lies scattered on the bottom. No lives were lost."  


David Swayze's Shipwreck: A Comprehensive Directory of Over 3,700 Shipwrecks on the Great Lakes provides the following account: "In the early decades of the 20th century, the sandsucker was a common vessel, especially on relatively shallow Lake Erie. The vessel was designed to drop anchor over a sandy area, then, by means of a suction pipe, pick up a load of sand and water. On board, the sand was filtered out, then delivered to some waiting consumer. The fine Lake Erie sand was much in demand in the construction industry and in the iron-casting plants, where it was used in the process of molding such items as engine blocks. Sandsuckers were often old vessels that had been converted from another type, and were thus susceptible to accidents."  


1. Kohl, C. 2001. The Great Lakes Diving Guide. Seawolf Communications, Inc., P.O. Box 66, West Chicago, IL, 60186.

2. Great Lakes Historical Society/Peachman Lake Erie Shipwreck Research Center Files

3. Bowling Green State University Historical Collection of the Great Lakes Great Lakes Vessel Online Index University Libraries

4. Swayze, David. Shipwreck: A Comprehensive Directory of Over 3,700 Shipwrecks on the Great Lakes, Harbor House Publishing, February, 1992.


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