The British cargo ship Pliny was built by Barrow Ship Builders Company of England in 1878. She was 288.4 feet long, had a 33.3. foot beam and displaced 1,671 gross tons. Photo courtesy The Mariners Museum, Newport News, Virginia.
reprinted from New Jersey Beach Diver by Dan Berg
( Deal, Monmouth County )
Take the Garden State Parkway to Exit 105. Take Rt 36 until the traffic circle. At the circle get on Rt 32, Wall St. Take Rt 32 to Monmouth Rd and turn right. Turn left on Cedar Ave and take it to the ld. Turn right on Ocean Ave and head south. Turn right on Phillips Ave and park. The wreck is located directly in front of Deal Casino.
The British cargo ship Pliny was built by Barrow Ship Builders Company of England in 1878. She was 288.4 feet long, had a 33.3 foot beam and displaced 1,671 gross tons. The Pliny was owned by Liverpool, Brazil & River Plate Company and was powered by compound inverted engines.
On May 13, 1882, the Pliny ran aground during a fierce storm. Photo courtesy The Mariners Museum, Newport News, Virginia.
Diver Dan Lieb points the way to the Pliny wreck. Photo by Daniel Berg.
On April 22, 1882, the Pliny left Rio De Janeiro with a general cargo of 20,000 bags of coffee, 300 bales of hides, 21 passengers and 34 crew. On May 13, the schooner-rigged vessel ran aground during a fierce storm. The Lifesaving Service quickly assembled and rescued all passengers and crew. Operations to remove the Pliny's cargo continued until May 16th, when the Pliny broke in two. According to diver and shipwreck historian, Bill Davis, "It was discovered later that a passenger had $3,000 in gold coins locked up in the safe of the captain's cabin. It is assumed that this safe was never recovered."
Sketch of the Pliny wreck area. Courtesy Howard Rothweiler.
Underwater sketch of the Pliny wreck. Courtesy Dan Lieb.
The wreck now rests in ten to 25 feet of water, about 200 yards out, directly in front of the Deal Casino Beach Club. According to diver Dan Lieb, the wreck is half buried in the sand and lies with her bow pointing south. Her stern is covered in seaweed. Her rudder post plus her propeller remain easily recognizable. Dan goes on to report that her flywheel has spokes large enough to swim through. Although the Pliny is not well-known for recovering artifacts, in the bow of the wreck divers can find brass spikes from her wooden decking. Bill Schmoldt reports there is a five foot fluted anchor on the eastern side of the wreck. Bill Davis reports that the north side of the wreckage consists of a long propeller shaft held up off the sand by steel and brass supports. Midships are her engine and other related equipment. Diver Howard Rothweiler reports that large black fish inhabit this wreck, and in the past he has speared some in excess of ten pounds.
Dan Berg uses a propulsion unit to make the swim offshore a little easier. Photo by Jozef Koppelman.