Volunteer Diving Team Recovers
‘Blue Jeans,’ Sailboat Lost In 1995
COOPERSTOWN – The SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station Volunteer Divers Team located and refloated the sailboat “Blue Jeans” that sank in Otsego Lake in 1995.
In late July, the dive team investigated side scan sonar images from a July 2012 remote sensing survey and found the sailboat, with sails and rigging intact.
A series of dives to 98 feet was undertaken to bring the Blue Jeans back to the surface undamaged. The dives were part of a long-term project to map the lake to gain a greater understanding of the cultural and biological resources in the historic waterway.
The 16-foot’ fiberglass sailboat, name clearly distinguishable across her stern, sunk in 1995. Blue Jeans was a Baptist Camp sailboat and will be used again by the camp which is busy cleaning and refitting her.
The BFS Volunteer Diver team conducts a variety of scientific and public service SCUBA diving tasks around Otsego Lake including installing navigation buoys, eradicating zebra mussels from Cooperstown’s water intake pipe, and performing research dives to benefit the health of the nine mile long lake located adjacent to Cooperstown. Paul H. Lord, a Master SCUBA Diver Trainer and an instructor at SUNY-Oneonta, directs the dive squad.
“For nearly two decades the Blue Jeans has been a bit of a ‘phantom’, part of the lore of our glimmering lake,” said Lord, a Cooperstown-area resident. “We wondered if our dive team would ever find her.”
Joseph W. Zarzynski, RPA, a professional underwater archaeologist from Wilton near Saratoga Springs, New York, is a volunteer diver with the unit and provides archaeological training to the team. Zarzynski funded the 2012 side scan sonar survey, conducted by Garry Kozak (GK Consulting), to benefit the BFS Volunteer Dive Team program.
The BFS Volunteer Dive Team and boat support personnel involved with the August 3rd recovery included Master Diver Lee Ferrara, Rescue Diver Chip Dunn, Assistant Instructor Pat McCormack, Advanced Open Water Diver Kaylee Herzog, Open Water Diver Jennifer Piacente, Open Water Diver Kevin Schermerhorn, and tender Wayne Bunn. Paul H. Lord oversaw the dive. Herzog, Piacente,and Schermerhorn are SUNY-Oneonta students. Receiving the boat, for the Baptist Camp, was John Buskey who immediately directed the cleanup of the Blue Jeans