These 7 Fascinating Photos Show New Jersey’s Most Unique Shipwreck Like Never Before
There have been nearly 5,000 documented shipwrecks off of New Jersey’s coast but one of the most famous, and unique, shipwrecks is that of the SS Atlantus. You may be more familiar with it being called Cape May’s concrete ship. One of just 12 concrete ships built by the Liberty Ship Building Company during and after WWI, it was part of the World War I Emergency Fleet. Built of steel and reinforced concrete, their advantage is that the materials are cheap and readily available.
The SS Atlantus, in particular, was launched on 5 December 1918. The Atlantus was used to transport American troops back home from Europe and also to transport coal in New England. After two years, the ship was retired to a salvage yard in Virginia. In 1926, the Atlantus was purchased for use in the creation of a ferry dock. The groundbreaking went smoothly but there was a terrible storm several months later. The ship broke free of her moorings and ran aground 150 feet off the coast of Cape May’s Sunset Beach. Several attempts were made to free the ship, but none were successful.
At one time there was a billboard painted on the side of the ship advertising boat insurance but as of 2019, much of the ship has been submerged. It has deteriorated over time and is now just barely visible over the shoreline. The wreckage is currently split in three pieces. The stern is the most visible section, the middle is completely submerged, and the bow can only be viewed at low tide. The view has certainly changed over the years, and these photos reflect that. See the shipwreck in a different light.
Do you have photos of the concrete ship in Cape May? We’d love to see them! Address: 502 Sunset Boulevard, Cape May Point, NJ, 08212. For more fun near Cape May, click here to discover amazing antique shops in the area.