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The Pug Wreck was first located by Bob Foster, diving with Capt. Heather Knowles and Dave Caldwell of Northern Atlantic Dive Expeditions in the fall of 2002. We didn’t get a chance to dive it until the spring of 2003, and as far as we know we’re the first divers to visit the wreck. We still don’t know the identity of the wreck, but it was a self-propelled barge or work boat. It is 130 ft. long with a 30 ft beam, and from a steam gauge found in the engine room, we know it was built by T.S. Marvel & Co. of Newburgh, NY. I dubbed it the “Pug” based on my first impression of a short steep bow. The photo shown above is also a T.S. Marvel ship of the same dimensions and design, that was built as a fire boat.

The Pug was likely scuttled, and everything above the deck has been cleared away with only holes remaining. It’s unclear whether this was due to nets, or whether it was done prior to sinking, but some debris can be found resting along the port side. It sits upright in 130 FSW and is a perfect wintertime dive when we can’t do the hang times necessary for deeper dives. The steam engine is still intact, and penetration is easy and interesting. Entering the stern section gives one access to the engine room, a workshop towards the stern, and a small crew’s quarters? on the starboard side. One can see across the engine and boiler to the forward compartment, but it looks like a very tight squeeze so it’s easiest to access this forward area from an opening near the bow. The forward compartment is pretty well empty except for the large water tanks and a small sink.

Visibility is usually about 20 ft but can get very murky at times due to the more in-shore location. Overall it’s a great alternative to the heavily-dived stern of the Chester Poling to the north near Gloucester. Because it’s been virtually unknown, the anemones, sea squirts and other attached life are still large and plentiful. It’s a great training dive for some of the deeper wrecks.