North America

Diver with camera taking photos of a shipwreck in the sand
Diver photographing the wooden remains from the 1842 shipwreck believed to be North America. Photo: Matt Lawrence/NOAA

Although not confirmed, this shipwreck may be North America, built in Bath, Maine, in 1833 and lost in 1842, while carrying dry goods and furniture. The shipwreck rests in 14 feet of water in the sand and grass flats north of Delta Shoals, just east of Sombrero light.


Admiralty Court Records indicate that a three-masted, square-rigged vessel named North America, was lost November 25, 1842, on Delta Shoals while enroute from New York to Mobile, Alabama. Local wreckers provided assistance to Captain Hall and his crew during a three-day salvage effort. Four ships were registered by the name of North America during this period; however, the size of the remaining wreckage and Captain Hall's name in the court records suggest it may be the ship North America that was built in Bath, Maine, in 1833. James B. Hall of New York and George S. Hall of Bath, Maine, were part owners of North America based in New York. This ship-rigged vessel had two decks, three masts, was 130 feet long, and had a 29-foot beam.

Painting of a sailing ship
The ship Macon depicted here likely looked similar to North America. Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


Rounded stones covering wooden shipwreck timbers
Wooden hull timbers projecting from North America's ballast pile. Photo: Matt Lawrence/NOAA

North America's remains consist of its lower wooden hull capped by a large pile of stone ballast. The wreckage measures approximately 112 feet long and 35 feet wide. Only small sections of the lower hull protrude above the sandy bottom; the majority of the structural remains are covered with ballast which preserves the wood. The southwest extremity of the site consists of the keel and several drift bolts that attached the keel and keelson to the floor timbers.

The ballast pile is oval shaped and appears to be largely contained within the surviving hull structure. The longitudinal axis of the ballast pile is southwest to northeast and extends for 85 feet. Beyond the ballast the remainder of the hull structure is covered by sand and turtle grass.

Small fish schooling over shipwreck
North America's ballast pile was disturbed by looters in 2022 who exposed wooden timbers. Photo: Matthew Lawrence/NOAA

Site Map

Archaeological drawing of the shipwreck
North America/aka Delta Shoal Shipwreck Site D Site Map. Credit: East Carolina University

Buoy Map

A map of a shipwreck and a buoy nearby
Image: NOAA