The Josephine Marie was a 154 gross ton, 79.9 foot long fishing vessel. It was a western rig in its design, meaning its pilot house was located forward of amidships. It was built by Bender Welding and Machine Company, Inc. in Mobile, Alabama in 1967 and was home-ported in Gloucester, MA.
The trawler Josephine Marie foundered and sank in 15-20 foot seas approximately 6 miles North of Provincetown, MA on February 1, 1992 due to flooding in the lazarette and fish hold areas after apparently striking an “unknown submerged object” while underway. There were no fatalities and all 4 of the crew were rescued by the US Coast Guard and the assisting fishing vessel Italian Gold. Survey dives after the sinking conducted in April of 1992 failed to identify any obvious damage and direct cause of sinking. Of note, on a prior inspection on April 22, 1991, shortly before the sinking, deterioration of the lazarette hatch had been observed. Replacement was recommended. However, a vessel boarding on January 28, 1992 – which can have varying degrees of scope in the inspection itself – resulted in no findings. It is unknown whether the lazarette hatch was replaced prior to the sinking based on a review of casualty reports. Unfortunately due to the position of the wreck, it was not possible for divers to inspect the lazarette and deck areas.
The Josephine Marie rests in approximately 105 feet of water in Stellwagen Bank NMS, on the bank itself. The wreck is completely turtled (upside down) and presently has been sanded in such that it is no longer possible to slip underneath the wreck to access the interior. As a result of it’s turtled state, it is not the most thrilling of dives. The smooth outer hull does not attract a diversity of marine life, though there are areas of the wreck that are populated – namely the bow, the rudder and propeller area, and areas around the exposed pipes that were part of an external keel-cooling system – where sea water is pumped outside the vessel to allow the ocean to cool the water that is being cycled through the engine. These pipes act as a heat exchanger of sorts. The rudder and propeller area are the most picturesque parts of the wreck, though looking up at the knife-like bow from the sand is also a spectacular sight. The wreck is home to some of the marine life typical in Stellwagen – sponges, anemones and a variety of fish. The only entanglement on the wreck is that of abandoned dragger netting around the stern area. As is the case with this portion of Stellwagen, currents are swift here and dives need to be timed around slack water to avoid strong currents. Visibility is on the order of 30-40 feet, and with a hard sand-bottom.