The Chester Poling & SNL

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Come aboard the Down Under with the ECD Team and Captain Fran Linnehan as we do a two dive charter of Saturday Nite Ledge and the Chester Poling

  • We will be departing out of Cape Ann Marina, "J" Dock, Slip #1
  • Please arrive at 12pm for load time, as we will be departing at 12:30pm sharp
  • This dive will consist of two back-to-back dives of the Chester Poling site, we suggest bringing a decent amount of drinking water and snacks to keep you energized
  • Gear is not included on our charter dives, if you need to rent any gear you might not own we'd be happy to set you up with some of our rental gear! To rent, you can swing by the shop in person or book gear beforehand on our website here!
SNL (or Saturday Nite Ledge) is a great ledge dive descending over 130ft before reaching the seabed. The wall is blooming with life! Lobsters hide away in the cracks and crevaces of this wall, so make sure to bring your lobstering license! A reef rests at around 30ft before the wall drops off into the depths. On a good day visibility here can be great, but with all wall dives we would recommend bringing a light!
The Chester Poling site is best known for it's stern section of the coastal oil tanker which is 130 feet long and 40 feet wide. Easily penetrated by experienced divers. There are lots of things to see here, including pipe equipment and a deck catwalk extending along the main deck. Various new England fish hang out here, as well as sponges, mussels, anemones, and crabs. Top of the deck rests in 70 feet of water, along the hull the sand reaches a max depth of 95 feet.

Typical visibility is roughly 20-30 feet, current can be a factor on the first 15 feet from the surface, the captain will advise on the day’s condition. This is an advanced dive, so be sure to bring your certification and the proper gear necessary.

Constructed: in 1934, at Mariners Harbor, NY by United Dry Docks Inc.

Crew: 7; Master: Captain Charles H. Burgess.
Owners: Motor Vessel Poling Bros. No.1 Inc.
Home or Hailing Port: New York, NY.
Former Name(s) and date(s): Plattsburgh Socony (1934), Mobil Albany ( ? ), Chester Poling (1956).

The Chester Poling, originally commissioned as the Plattsburg Scocony in 1934, was enroute to Newington, New Hampshire on the morning of January 10th, 1977 when it found it's final resting point. It was leaving Everett, MA having just delivered a full load of Kerosene and trying to keep to their schedule. Captain Charles Burgess made the call to head home while the sea's were rough, but still tolerable for the ship. The Captains confidence in the ship was met with Poseidens wrath as the sea's grew to 30 feet and winds sharpened to 50mph by mid morning. Burgess immediately made a distress call to the coast guard as the sea's continued to grow. In an attempt to stabilize the ship against the winds and crashing waves Burgess flooded four of the six cargo holds with water.

The Captains efforts were no match for the great seas. As Burgess attempted to steer the ship to calmer sea's a monster wave connected with the tanker. Mother natures wrath split the ship into two sections 27 feet forward amidship. Coast Guard were on their way, but fierce winds and turbulant sea's delayed helicopters from aiding the ship. The Coast Guard were able to get two boats out to aid the crew of the poling. The boats were able to pick up two members of the crew - including Captain Burgess, but the other 5 members were still stranded on the stern.

The high sea's made it impossible for the coast guards boats to shoot a line to the stern and all they could do is wait. Finally around 1:30pm the weather had calmed a bit and a helicopter arrived on the scene. A basket was lowered and two of the five were able to climb a board and get pulled up. However, only one of the two crew members made the full journey into the helicopter. One of the members, Joao DeRosa had lost his grip - most likely due to a combination of stress, shock and freezing temperatures - and fell to a davy jones' locker. The three remaining crew members abandoned ship as the stern section began approaching large rocks. After a short swim in the near 30 degree winter waters, the three remaining crew members were picked up by the cutters and helicopter.

Sources:

Mass.Gov  Energy and Environment Affairs

Northern Atlantic Dive Expeditions 

color rebreather diver in front of the poling by mike macdonald

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