Chincoteague and Assateague Island Virginia Shipwrecks

La Galga, and Juno

Two older wrecks have historical and legendary significance. La Galga (circa 1750) Juno (circa 1802) were Spanish vessels that sank along Assateague Island. The popular story has it that the present herd of Chincoteague ponies are descendants of ponies from one or both ships.


In 1914 The Monroe collided with the steamer Nantucket south of Chincoteague and sank in 90 feet of water.

Marine Electric

On February 10, 1983,  the Marine Electric, sailed from Norfolk, VA carrying a cargo of 25,000 tons of coal. Seas were rough and skies were overcast. The air and water temperature was cold and the wind was blowing in excess of 40 knots. The ship carried a crew of 34.

As the ship cruised off the coast of Virginia the weather deteriorated. On the evening of February 11, the ship began to founder in 20-40 foot seas and winds of 60 knots. An inspection revealed that the holds were filling with sea water. A distress call was sent and acknowledged by the Coast Guard. A rescue helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, was immediately dispatched and arrived to find ship sunken and 34 people in the water.

Bow Mariner

On Saturday, February 28, 2004 the Bow Mariner, a 570 foot tanker caught fire, exploded and sank off the coast of Virginia. The tanker was carrying 3.5 million gallons of ethanol, 48,000 gallons of stored diesel fuel and 193,000 gallons of fuel oil. The vessel was roughly 50 miles east of Chincoteague, Virginia in about 240 feet of water when it sank in water that was around 44 degrees.


On October 10th, 1891 The 730 ton schooner-rigged steamship USS Dispatch was bound for Washington D.C. from New York City when the ship ran aground  just after 3 a.m. The vessel was President Benjamin Harrison's official yacht and had previously been the official yacht of Presidents Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, Cleveland. The boat was a total loss the remains and now lie just off the coast of Assateague in about 25 feet of water. 

David Atwater

David Atwater was attacked and sunk by a German U boat on Winter Quarter Shoal, April 2, 1942. The vessel was roughly 250 feet in length and carried nearly 4000 tons of coal. The boats a few miles off the beach in about 70 feet.

For sources of information and more on area shipwrecks see:


Submitted by: cin