Book Release: Shipwrecks of Lake Ontario: A Journey of Discovery

Book Release: Shipwrecks of Lake Ontario: A Journey of Discovery

Author Jim Kennard and NMGL launch fascinating book about Great Lakes shipwrecks.
Proceeds benefit the museum and its underwater archaeology program.

TOLEDO, OHIO (March 27, 2019) – For decades, teams of shipwreck enthusiasts have been searching for sunken ships in the New York State waters of Lake Ontario. Using SCUBA equipment, simple depth finders, sophisticated side-scan sonar equipment and eventually with remote operated vehicles, they set out to unlock the secrets of the past.

The National Museum of the Great Lakes, is excited to announce the release of a new book titled Shipwrecks of Lake Ontario: A Journey of Discovery. This book contains the stories of these long lost shipwrecks and the journeys of the underwater explorers who found them, written by Jim Kennard, Roland Stevens, and Roger Pawlowski.

“Searching for ships in the Great Lakes demands hours spent on research; large expenditures for technical equipment; weeks, months and sometimes years looking for a wreck; plus a touch of madness that keeps a team together on an elusive quest.” said Jim Kennard, lead author. “The information that we have discovered over the years has provided us with valuable insight into Great Lakes maritime history.” Kennard continued, “The book is truly a first class product that we and the National Museum of the Great Lakes can be proud to offer the public. I expect that Shipwrecks of Lake Ontario: A Journey of Discovery will be of interest to readers for a very long time.”

Shipwrecks of Lake Ontario: A Journey of Discovery details the history and discovery of over 26 shipwrecks in Lake Ontario, many of which have connections to other communities across the Great Lakes including Toledo, Cleveland, Buffalo, Detroit and Chicago. The book includes over 150 illustrations, photographs and drawings including underwater photography of some of the shipwrecks. It also contains original artwork by artist Roland Stevens who was brought onto the team to document the view of the entire shipwreck when only small portions could be seen on camera.

“One hundred years from now, Jim Kennard will likely be considered one of the greatest Great Lakes shipwreck explorers in history,” Said Chris Gillcrist, executive director of the National Museum of the Great Lakes. “This work documents his important discoveries that help the rest of us to understand and appreciate the majesty of Great Lakes history.”

Shipwrecks of Lake Ontario: A Journey of Discovery was funded in-part by a grant from the Ritter and Shirley Shumway Foundation out of Rochester, New York. All proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit the National Museum of the Great Lakes and its underwater archaeology program.

The museum will host a series of four (4) Meet the Author/Book Signing events upon its release. The first two will take place on Wednesday, May 1st at 4:30pm and 7:00pm as part of the museum’s Spring Lecture Series. The second will be on Thursday, May 2nd at 6:30pm in Avon, Ohio and the fourth will take place in Rochester, New York at a date yet to be determined.

Pre-sale of the book is currently available at a cost of $21.95 at  NMGL members receive a 10% discount.


Jim Kennard has been diving and exploring the lakes of the northeast United States since 1970. He’s found more than 200 shipwrecks in the Great Lakes, Lake Champlain, the New York Finger Lakes, and in the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. Utilizing his background as an electrical engineer, he built a side-scan sonar system that located many of these shipwrecks. Significant discoveries include the two oldest shipwrecks discovered on the Great Lakes, the 1780 British warship HMS Ontario and the sloop Washington lost in 1803. In 1983 he found a unique horse powered ferryboat in Lake Champlain. All of these discoveries received worldwide attention in the news media. Discoveries made by Jim and his shipwreck teams have appeared in a number of publications including National Geographic. Sea Technology, Inland Seas, Wreck Diving, Skin Diver and several Rochester, New York publications. He’s appeared on Discovery Channel, CBC, BBC and FOX News.

In 2013, Kennard was selected as Fellow of The Explorers Club. Kennard received the Joyce. S. Hayward Award for Historic Interpretation from the Association for Great Lakes Maritime History in 2015 for documenting the stories of Great Lakes shipwreck on his website

Kennard graduated from Clarkson University with a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering in 1966. In addition to searching for elusive shipwrecks, Jim has been an amateur radio operator since he was 13 and started hiking at 65. He’s climbed over 100 peaks in the Catskill Mountains and all off the 46 high peaks in the Adirondacks. A native of Peekskill, he lives in Fairport, New Yok with his wife Marilyn.

Founded in 1944, the Great Lakes Historical Society has been preserving our shared cultural history by publishing a quarterly journal Inland Seas® since 1945; by operating a maritime museum since 1952; by offering educational programs to the general public since 1956; by conducting underwater archaeological research across the Great Lakes since 2001; and by managing the Col. James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship. The opening of the National Museum of the Great Lakes enables the Great Lakes Historical Society to continue its mission to preserve and make known the important history of the Great Lakes.


Shipwreck Explorer and Author, Jim Kennard


Shipwrecks of Lake Ontario: A Journey of Discovery Book Release


Wednesday, May 1 at 4:30pm and 7:00pm
National Museum of the Great Lakes
1701 Front St., Toledo, OH 43605

Thursday, May 2 at 6:30pm
Cambria Suites Avon
35600 Detroit Rd.
Avon, OH 44011