Save Ontario Shipwrecks
Save Ontario Shipwrecks is a Provincial Heritage Organization in Ontario dedicated to the study, preservation, and promotion of an appreciation of Ontario's marine heritage. Incorporated in 1981, SOS is a public charitable organization of dedicated volunteers from across the Province. Operating mainly through a group of Local Chapter Committees supported by a Provincial Board of Directors and Provincial Executive, our volunteers have undertaken many worthwhile projects and activities. Current Chapters List.
During the late 1970’s, two far-sighted individuals, Rick Jackson and Gain Wong, began to
realize that the most effective means of putting an end to wreck stripping in Ontario would
be to educate and involve divers in conservation projects. They also recognized the need for
an organization dedicated to preserving Ontario’s marine heritage. In February of 1981,
Save Ontario Shipwrecks (SOS) was incorporated with Rick Jackson, Andrew Garay and Gain
Wong as the first directors.
In the beginning, SOS was centered in Toronto. The first Chapters were Toronto, Niagara,
Peterborough and Ottawa. In 1985, SOS Quinte was formed primarily to continue work on
the Annie Falconer. This project, the wreck of a late eighteen hundreds schooner near
Picton (Pt. Traverse) was the first to involve amateur divers and professionals and stands
today as an example of the quality effort that can be achieved by the dive community. Also
in 1984, we saw the formation of SOS Ottawa Valley, Sault Ste Marie, Superior, London and
Sudbury and Oshawa came on board in 1985, followed by Ohio in 1986. SOS Ohio consisted
of a group of divers working on an Ontario wreck in Fathom Five Park and assisted the State
of Ohio in organizing their own marine heritage groups. 1986 saw the formation of Chapters
in Windsor, Ingleside (which was closely affiliated with the Lost Villages Historical Society)
and Thunder Bay.
In 1986, SOS was awarded a Core Funding grant by the Ministry of Culture. This in turn
forced SOS to develop a more structured fiscal operating system, and reorganized to
manage our affairs in a more professional manner. In 1986, we finally evolved into the
position where we had a definite Board of Directors, with Officers and an Executive
Committee to manage the day to day affairs of the corporation.