Jim Kennard ’66 is the recent recipient of the 2015 Joyce S. Hayward Award for Historic Interpretation given by The Association for Great Lakes Maritime History.
Jim began his diving career 45 years ago. After a few years of diving on known wreckshe wanted to find ships that had not been found by others. After building his own side scan sonar he began the search for virgin shipwrecks in Lake Champlain, the NY Finger Lakes, the Great Lakes, and the Hudson and Richelieu Rivers. In the 1980s he traveled to many locations on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers to find lost barges for river transportation companies.
Over the past 40 years, Jim has discovered over 200 shipwrecks. As Jim and his shipwreck exploration teammates began finding some of the historic shipwrecks his passion grew from just diving on them to developing the story and photo-documenting each ship. Twelve years ago his website, Shipwreckworld.com, was created to share his stories of shipwreck discoveries and those of others. The Shipwreckworld website has since grown and now has over 1,000,000 page views per year.
A few of Jim and his teammates most notable discoveries are:
- The 1983 discovery of a rare horse powered ferry boat sunk in Lake Champlain and featured in National Geographic in October 1989
- The 2008 discovery of the British warship HMS Ontario sunk in 1780 in Lake Ontario – Oldest shipwreck ever discovered in the Great Lakes and the oldest fully intact British warship in the world.
- The 2014 discovery of Three Brothers (built 1827) sunk in 1833 in Lake Ontario and believed to be the earliest commercial ‘dagger-board’ schooner found in the Great Lakes
Jim says, “My passion for exploration and discovery continues as our team of shipwreck enthusiasts seek to bring history to the surface and to write the final chapter of these mini-museums resting on the bottom of the Great Lakes.”