niagara falls scow

A historic Niagara shipwreck keeps getting closer to crashing down over the falls completely

The remains of a historic boat known as the Niagara Scow have served as an attraction in the Niagara River for more than 100 years, the rusted iron barge jutting out from the turbulent waters some 600 m from the shore since it got stuck there all the way back in 1918.

The ancient artefact itself is storied not just because of its age, but also because of the dramatic 17-hour rescue mission by the U.S. Coast Guard to save the two men who were on board.

Though the river's flow has, naturally, been eroding the scow, it remained quite securely in place until 2019, when strong winds and high water levels from a storm shifted the wreck off the rock shoal it was stuck on.

After that event, the boat was turned around and flipped over, though again found a resting place 50 m closer to the edge of the world's most famous waterfall, where it again stayed put despite the elements.

That is, until this week.

According to Niagara Parks, the scow has yet again moved toward the falls and thus its impending ruin, and is also breaking apart quite rapidly.

The Senior Manager of Heritage for Niagara Parks said in a video posted to Twitter on Tuesday that the vessel has been slowly deteriorating since its move in 2019 and is "maybe just reaching the end of its life out there" after decades of withstanding ice, snow, wind and the river's flow.

"It looks like a portion has broken away, and there was sort of a division in the scow's hull, and now that looks like it's completely separated," he said, noting the recent release of the ice boom, which normally keeps ice from impacting the river's power generation stations.

This, plus recent weather events, have caused even more damage to the wreck and now famous landmark.

According to the video, much of the scow is already gone, but due to its position in the river, it looked more intact from the Canadian side of the falls than the American side.

If it does go over in the near future, it is not considered a threat to public safety, though it will certainly be quite a sad show to witness.

Lead photo by

Niagara Parks


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