Lake Boats

Sandsuckers - A Haven For Antiques

Revised May 8, 2003

The extensive areas of sandy bottom in Lake Erie, accessible at shallow depths,
has created a modest industry in mining the sand with small suction dredges,
commonly called Sandsuckers.

This trade has always been a haven for older, smaller boats, which would
otherwise have been scrapped long ago.

John R. Emery - 1905

One of the oldest boats on the lakes.

Winter Layup

F. M. Osborne - 1920

Built as a carferry, the Grand Island, converted to a sand dredge in 1954.

Returning from the lake with a load of sand, 7-May-2003

...To Full Size Version


Emmett J. Carey - 1948

Built as a small freighter, converted to a sand dredge in 1953.


Atchafalaya isn't strictly a sandsucker, but a suction dredge,
used to remove sediment from rivers and harbors, and haul it out
to dumping areas well out in the lake.

Atchafalaya is unusual, in that the entire hull hinges open like a
clamshell bucket for dumping. The house is designed to stay level
above the opened hull, essentially becoming a catamaran.
She is equipped with 2 steerable outdrives, for extreme maneuverability.
When dredging, she is frequently moved directly sideways, by rotating the drives.

Boat Links

A huge Great Lakes shipping site

Historical Collections of the Great Lakes
Great Lakes Vessels Online Index
Bowling Green State University

Lyman Burk Associates

Lyman Burk & Associates has developed a sophisticated GPS system
for precise positioning of dredges.

Clyde Iron Works

Lake Boats



Copyright 2003 North East Systems