, Newburyport, MA

Local News

November 16, 2013

Salisbury shipwreck site to be marked

Buoys will be added for swimmers' safety

SALISBURY — Thanks to a Methuen man, the skeleton of a historic shipwreck will be marked by buoys in summers to come, a move that will prevent it from being a menace to local swimmers, but still allowing it to serve as a symbol of Salisbury’s maritime past.

A regular visitor to Salisbury Beach, Steve Keohane has endured some pretty serious cuts while swimming through the unmarked submerged ruins of the Jennie M. Carter. The wreck has rested off the shore of Salisbury Beach, with its jagged bones all that’s remains of the schooner, after it sank on April 13, 1894.

A retired veteran who spent 22 years working in Navy intelligence, Keohane is currently a real estate appraiser. Since 2006, as soon as the weather warms, Keohane will drive up from Methuen in the mornings to swim the quarter-mile stretch of ocean from Vermont Avenue to the Pavilion before heading off to his appointments.

His regular route takes him right over the shipwrecks, which sits off a popular part of the beach, near Salisbury Beach Center and by the Pavilion. Although often covered up by sand, due to erosion, in recent years it’s exposed frame, rotting wooden hull and upright beams jutting up from the ocean floor,has posed a danger to swimmers. Children often play in the shallow waters by the wreck as well, Keohane said, providing other set of problems.

This summer, he and other swimmers ended up with nasty gashes from their battles with the Carter’s spiky ribs. So, Keohane contacted the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, which owns Salisbury Beach.

“I swim at Salisbury Beach quite often,” Keohane wrote to DCR Commissioner Jack Murray. “In fact, I enjoy Salisbury Beach more than any other beach in the country. On July 27, 2013, I got pretty well ‘cut-up’ while swimming parallel to the beach from Vermont St. towards the Pavilion.”

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