Category Archives: sherkston ship wreck

The history of the Sherkston wreck

Since October 1961 the Steel Products has been aground off Sherkston Beach. This abandoned ship has been known as the “wreck” as long as I have been a regular on the Lake Erie shore.

This “wreck” has become a symbol of Sherkston and the reef, a backdrop for countless photos and stories

( click on the photos for a close up)

hobie rescuecirca 1978
hobie rescue
circa 1978

 and a huge part of our lives on Lake Erie’s shore.

I have swam out to it, jumped off the deck ( when it had a deck)

circa 1980
circa 1980

paddleboarding around the prop

sailed and paddled around it.

sept28 2012 006
fall 2012

Mother Nature has taken its toll on our great symbol of the reef.

steel products 004
where to find the wreck

With that being said I would like to share the history of the wreck.

the crane on the wreck
the crane on the wreck

steel products 006
steel products

steel products 007
steel products as venus

The Steel Products was named Venus  for 50 years before being sold to Marine Salvage of Port Colborne. The  346 foot vessel was equipped with a crane and often carried scrap steel.  After a long career she was taken under tow on  October 26, 1961 to be  scrapped at Dwor Metal Co. While anchored in heavy weather she slipped  anchor on Oct. 28th and went aground. The decision was made to strip her  in the spring so a crew of men were left on board for the winter. Come  spring a road was built to her and the engines and part of her hull were  removed. She was built in 1901 in Lorain, OH by American  Shipbuilding Co.

I would like to thank Mike & Georgann Wachter  for sharing this bit of history.

news file
news file

wreck 1980's
circa late 1970’s


The road that was built for the salvage operation was left in place and became a walk way to the wreck through waist deep water. You did have to swim the last 20 yards or so. Many times the friendly locals would answer calls for help because some one who was not a strong swimmer or some one who had a little too much libation got themselves out to the wreck, but could not get back in.

spring thaw 2010

the remains after scrapping

In the early 1980’s the price of steel skyrocketed and scrapers went after what was left of the wreck cutting away much of the hull and deck throughout the winter months. They may have removed the whole thing but the bulldozer they were using fell through the ice and caused some setbacks preventing they job from being finished.

A great place to explore with kayaks and paddle boards,snorkel around as well as fish, this old barge attracts visitors every day.

the sherkston wreck as  seen from the air.
the sherkston wreck as seen from the air.

The recent winters have really taken a toll on the old girl. Low water levels,

rear view wreck and prop during low water
rear view wreck and prop during low water

heavy wind storms,

the wreck during high winds
the wreck during high winds

gopro shot underwater

and time have weaken the remaining structure and twisted the bow wreck bow2 wreck bowand rear sections to near unrecognizable forms DCIM100GOPRO underwreck underwreck2

It is only a matter of time before the whole thing falls victim to Mother Natures wrecking ball.

sun set over the wreck
sun set over the wreck

the prop


Below are some recent photo’s from the fall of 2013 and the winter of 2014.

(Thanks to John for the photo’s)

fall 2013

fall 2013

sunset fall 2013

fall 2013

March 2014
March 2014

march 2014
march 2014

Spring 2014
Spring thaw 2014


Labor Day Paddle Board meeting updates and more

As summer is winding down there is a lot going on at Da’ reef.

1st off

Gidget and Firefighter Julie are going to compete in the North Shore SUP race this weekend. The 10 k race will be from Nickel Beach  to Pleasant Beach. Lets get out there and cheer them on as they pass by. ( around 11:30)

If you are interested in participating or helping out click the link above.

2nd fun thing,

From Possum: I have been issued a challenge for the ALS ice bucket challenge. This involves taking a video of yourself dumping a bucket of ice water over your head. For any one who hasn’t heard of this, it is a drive to raise awareness and money for ALS, which is a devastating and deadly disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

Now being a Treichler by marriage and a Reef Warrior at heart, I feel I must “Go big or go home” so I would like to gather as many of my reef warrior family(and any other friends who want to join!) as possible to help me with this challenge. All you need is about 5 minutes and a bucket (or whatever receptacle you choose) of ice water. I will also collect money from any one who wishes to make a donation to the ALS association from the reef warriors. So I am asking that you grab your ice water and meet me on the beach in front of Lou and Gail’s deck at noon this Sunday (August 22nd) where we will raise our buckets to pay it forward for a good cause! For more information about ALS or to make your own private donation, visit:
  ALS Association 

We will post the video of this event on the reef warriors website as well as the Facebook site. Thanks ahead of time for the support!

Let have a good turn out to support Possum and ALS

3rd on the list

is the Labor day board meeting and paddle parade.

Help us spread the word to your friends and family who sup or kayak to join us for the fun. If you have any questions contact Lou

Our date is set Sunday August 31, 2014

I will keep an eye on the weather if we need to change the day or time, but as of now Sunday looks the best.

We will start gathering on Elco beach near the boat ramp at 9 am

a group photo will be taken at 9:45 and the paddle will start at 10am

Refreshments will be served after the paddle on front of Lou and Gail’s. Please bring some to share if you want. Stay as long as you want and try paddle boards, hang with friends and just enjoy the beach

Be sure to sign the “registration ” book. We are trying to document how many people participated-hopefully more than 100!!!


I have had a post I have been wanting to share and could never seem to find the right time. The post is about the history of the Sherkston Ship wreck and I will post it up this Sunday morning so that the North shore sup racers and the board meeting participants can be informed on this small part of Lake Erie History. I hope you enjoy it.

Also let not forget chili cook-off .

As always it is set for the last Saturday in September.


Can Robert repeat as champ?

Will Sara be our prettiest chili queen to date?

These questions and more will be answered Sept. 27, 2014 come hungry and ready for fun.

A Long Wait

Casey’s Blog:

Wow its hard to believe Just a couple of years ago I Surfed all year-long on Da Reef.  That seems so so long ago now.  I am currently on 4 months without hitting those sweet fresh water waves. The way it looks now its going to be a long wait.  Their is Ice as far as the eye can see. Thick ice too, 3 feet thick the Ice fisherman say.  Ouch.!  Definitely time for a Hatteras trip!

That's a lotta Ice for this time of year.
That’s a lotta Ice for this time of year.

Yup Ice Never ends

Looking down at the Shipwreck. All Iced up.
Looking down at the Shipwreck. All Iced up.

This Supposed to be deep water. Solid like the moon.
This Supposed to be deep water. Solid like the moon.

This is the only water I could find.  At least it looks pretty.
This is the only water I could find. At least it looks pretty.

Happy New Year

I just wanted to wish all our loyal followers a very Happy New Year.

Lets hope that 2014 brings lots of wind, waves, and tasty rum.

Check out the 2013 photo page

I am (reasonably) sure Casey is hard at work on compiling his annual

Days of the Water Report.

Be sure to check out page 32 in the most recent issue of Windsport

(late fall 2013)

there is a photo of our favorite chopper ridin’ ,green short wearin’,

rum drinkin’ ,Reef Warrior!

Rum Quest will be back starting in February,

sorry this was neglected but life sometimes gets in the way.

Since the Great Lakes are in the middle of a cold arctic blast, I would like to share a video with you to remind us all of warm, wavy days of summer.

North Shore Sup

There is an exciting event happening this summer here on the North shore of Lake Erie and it goes right through our back yard.

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The Lake Erie North Shore Stand Up Event (there is an overview of the event below) will take place July 20th 2013 and is a paddle from Nickel Beach in Port Colborne to Crystal Beach, a distance of 25k (18 or so miles for those of us not familiar with the metric system).

I recently met one of the organizers and was drawn in by her excitement. The event has been carefully planned and safety of the participants is the # 1 concern.

Below is an invite from Katherine, from North Shore Sup.

 “We would love to have the local community out on the water, to share our beautiful lake with the rest of the SUP community. Also, for those unsure about whether they can finish 25 km, we will have shuttle services if you need to tap out early. No problem.
The Fort Erie Underwater Recovery Unit, plus 5 Paddle Canada certified instructors will be on the water to ensure that everyone has a great experience.”

exploring sherkston wreck
exploring sherkston wreck

Gail and I are planning to join in or help out in some way. Lets get some Reef Warriors involved. Any Bretheren of the Reef up for the challenge?
If you can’t take part in the paddle but would like to help, there will be volunteer roles available. Contact Katherine at

Registration Cost

Registration is $80.  PayPal will be available soon.

With your registration, you get:

  • A RipZone event rashguard shirt
  • lunch and dinner
  • on-water support and shuttle service
  • a chance to win sweet prizes from MEC, SteamWhistle, local restaurants and more (prizes for the biggest charity pledges raised)

There is also a waiver and registration form to be filled out and a form to collect pledges if you so choose

Please contact Katherine Balpataky at   or 519 222 1178 for

more information or to express interest.

Please bring:

  • PFD, whistle, leash and your board and paddle
  • water/sports drinks
  • sunscreen
  • water booties

Beach party!

Paddlers and their friends will finish the day at the very popular Crystal Beach site. SUP demos and information booths will be out in full force. An after-event party will be held at Sneaker’s Beach Tavern. All are welcome.

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The Lake Erie North Shore StandUp is a challenging 25-km standup paddleboarding event along the north shore of Lake Erie from Nickel Beach, Port Colborne to Crystal Beach, Fort Erie on July 20, 2013. Proceeds will go towards the development of the Lake Erie Stewardship EcoTrail, a project spearheaded by the Carolinian Canada Coalition.

The Lake Erie North Shore StandUp will raise awareness of the Eco-Trail and tourism on Lake Erie in southwestern Ontario. It will be promoted as an event that supports healthy and active lifestyles and educates participants about the importance of conserving the natural and heritage features of the coast.

What is standup paddleboarding?

Standup paddleboarding (SUP) is the fastest growing paddle sport in North America, born of Hawaiian heritage. A paddler stands upright on a board that resembles a large surfboard and uses a long paddle to navigate flat, moving (rivers) or coastal surf.

The Cause

With many partners, CCC is developing a proposal for a Lake Erie Stewardship Eco-Trail. The vision is a trail that will link businesses, natural areas and other sites of interest along the entire 592-km coast of Lake Erie. It will provide community groups the chance to get outdoors and join in caring for our coast. The trail can also be a tool to highlight Lake Erie’s important agricultural and human heritage.

Carolinian Canada’s Lake Erie Coastal Zone Program provides a forum for public and private partners to work together to better manage the coastal zone for people and nature. Improving business, research and conservation opportunities is a key goal of the Coastal Zone Program.

One way to work towards this goal is through a Lake Erie Stewardship Eco-Trail.

Paddler’s donations will be used to develop signage for the trail, to support a volunteer program for trail maintenance and coastal restoration projects.

Event details

The Lake Erie North Shore Standup is modeled after a successful and growing Ottawa-based charity fund-raising event called the Stand Up For CHEO (SUFC). SUFC raises money for the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO). Duncan Keith, co-founder of Stand Up For CHEO (SUFC) is on the Executive Committee of the North Shore Standup, contributing his knowledge and experiences with the Ottawa event.

The North Shore Standup will host 30 participants from Nickel Beach, Port Colborne to Pleasant Beach and then  on to Crystal Beach, Fort Erie (see map). The event is designed to be small in its first year to ensure that each rider has positive, safe and rewarding experience.

Safety considerations:

Designed in accordance Transport Canada guidelines for water events

Fully insured, in accordance with Paddle Canada advice

Paddlers will be accompanied by Paddle Canada certified standup paddleboarders, chase

boats and a jet ski

Road crew will be on hand to lend assistance

The Fort Erie Underwater Recovery Unit has volunteered assistance.

Paddleboarders will be greeted by local community groups (Crystal Beach BIA, Friends of Crystal Beach, city councilors, etc.), Carolinian Canada staff, volunteers, media and sponsors at a lunch rest stop and at the final destination for a BBQ celebration.

Bios of the organizers can be found here:


The Lake Erie North Shore StandUp offers sponsors the unique opportunity to be part of an event that features the popular and growing sport of standup paddleboarding, while promoting local tourism for economic development in the coastal communities of Lake Erie in southwestern Ontario.

Gold sponsorship: $2,000 or more

Silver sponsorship: $1,000 or more

Bronze sponsors: $500 or more

Sponsorship dollars will be used for operating costs. A detailed budget will be provided. All proceeds will go to the Eco-Trail.

Gold sponsors (1-2 spots only, $2,000 or more)

Gold sponsors will be provided:

Industry sector exclusivity

The opportunity to involve staff volunteer roles

First rights to premier sponsorship in 2014

A personalized message to all event participants and volunteers.

Additional benefit ideas welcome for discussion.

Gold sponsors will be asked to greet paddlers at the beach party and will be mentioned in all interviews with press. Demo tent space on the beach will be provided to provide paddlers and guests with information about products or programs.

Gold sponsor logos will be featured prominently on all promotional materials including the website, flyers, press releases and on event shirts.

Silver sponsors ($1000 or more)

Silver sponsors will be listed in all press release materials and will be mentioned by the

organizers during speaking opportunities at the BBQ beach party. Silver sponsors will also be invited to set up a booth or equipment demos for paddlers, spectators and their families.

Sponsor logos will be featured on all promotional materials including the website, flyers, press releases and on event shirts.

Bronze sponsors ($500 or more)

Bronze sponsors will have their logos featured on the event website and all promotional

materials. Bronze sponsors will be listed in all press release materials and will be mentioned at the beach party.


The event will be promoted though:

The website:

Posters and flyers distributed to local business and at Ontario paddling events

Social media (Twitter, Facebook, blogs)

Local press (The Tribune)

Related websites (Surf Ontario,, Fresh Coast, etc.)

Please contact Katherine Balpataky at or 519 222 1178 for

more information or to express interest.

A route map is available on our website: