SS North American
SS North American was a Great Lakes
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

A steamboat or steamship, sometimes called a steamer, is a ship in which the primary method of propulsion is steam power, typically driving propellers or paddlewheels...

 built by the Great Lakes Engineering Works
Great Lakes Engineering Works
The Great Lakes Engineering Works was a shipbuilding company with a shipyard in River Rouge, Michigan that operated between 1902 and 1960. Within three years of its formation, it was building fifty percent of the tonnage of all ships in the Great Lakes. During World War II, GLEW was...

 at Ecorse, Michigan
Ecorse, Michigan
Ecorse is a city in Wayne County in the U.S. state of Michigan, named for the Ecorse River. The population was 9,512 at the 2010 census.-History:...

 in 1913 for the Chicago, Duluth & Georgian Bay Transit Company
Georgian Bay Line
The Georgian Bay Line is the popular name of the Chicago, Duluth and Georgian Bay Transit Company. From 1913 until 1967, the Georgian Bay Line provided transit service and cruise voyages to passengers on North America's Great Lakes.-Formation:...

. The vessel was launched on January 16, 1913 and was the oldest of two sister ships, the newer one being the SS South American
SS South American
SS South American was a Great Lakes steamboat built by the Great Lakes Engineering Works at Ecorse, Michigan. It was built in 1913 for the Chicago, Duluth & Georgian Bay Transit Company. The vessel was launched on February 21, 1914 and was the newer of two sister ships, the older one being the SS...


The North American was 280 feet (85.3 m) in length, had a 47 feet (14.3 m) beam, and drew 17 in 6 in (5.33 m) She was equipped with a 2,200 indicated horsepower
Horsepower is the name of several units of measurement of power. The most common definitions equal between 735.5 and 750 watts.Horsepower was originally defined to compare the output of steam engines with the power of draft horses in continuous operation. The unit was widely adopted to measure the...

 quadruple expansion steam engine
Steam engine
A steam engine is a heat engine that performs mechanical work using steam as its working fluid.Steam engines are external combustion engines, where the working fluid is separate from the combustion products. Non-combustion heat sources such as solar power, nuclear power or geothermal energy may be...

 and three coal
Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure...

-burning Scotch boilers. In 1923 the boilers were converted to burn oil
An oil is any substance that is liquid at ambient temperatures and does not mix with water but may mix with other oils and organic solvents. This general definition includes vegetable oils, volatile essential oils, petrochemical oils, and synthetic oils....


In 1963 the North American was sold to the Canadian Holiday Co. of Erie, Pennsylvania
Erie, Pennsylvania
Erie is a city located in northwestern Pennsylvania in the United States. Named for the lake and the Native American tribe that resided along its southern shore, Erie is the state's fourth-largest city , with a population of 102,000...

. The company used her in cross-lake service between Erie, Pennsylvania and Port Dover, Ontario
Port Dover, Ontario
Port Dover is an unincorporated community and former town located in Norfolk County, Ontario, Canada on the north shore of Lake Erie.The community was the subject of an American raid during the War of 1812, on May 14, 1814....

 for one year until she was retired in 1964. After being retired from service the North American was involved with purchasing deals of uncertain nature, and was finally sold at public auction
An auction is a process of buying and selling goods or services by offering them up for bid, taking bids, and then selling the item to the highest bidder...

 to the Seafarers International Union
Seafarers International Union of North America
The Seafarers International Union or SIU is an organization of 12 autonomous labor unions of mariners, fishermen and boatmen working aboard vessels flagged in the United States or Canada. Michael Sacco has been its president since 1988. The organization has an estimated 35,498 members and is the...

 in 1967 and she was to be used as a training ship at Piney Point, Maryland
Piney Point, Maryland
Piney Point is an unincorporated community in St. Mary's County, Maryland, United States. It is known for the Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education, a popular seafood restaurant, beautiful houses along the beach, a lighthouse, and a "Museum." The Piney Point post office also...


While the North American was on the North Atlantic being towed to Piney Point, she unexpectedly sank on September 4, 1967. The location was 25 miles (40.2 km) northeast from Nantucket Light, where the bottom is at 400 feet (121.9 m). The wreck
Wreck may refer to:* Wreck, a ceremony of initiation into the 40 et 8 club* Wreck , an American indie rock band* A collision of an automobile, aircraft or other vehicle* Shipwreck, the remains of a ship after a crisis at sea...

still remains at this location.

The SS North American has been found. In July 2006, a research team aboard Quest Marine’s R/V Quest located the ship close to the edge of the continental shelf, approximately 140 miles (225.3 km) off the New England coast in 250 feet (76.2 m) of water.

External links

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