S.S. Yucatan, Sank 1910, Icy Strait, Alaska

Vessel Particulars

Hull: Iron (27839)
Dimensions: 336 x 43 x 22
Tonnage: 3,525 gross
Power: Coal-fired Steam
Builder: Delaware River Shipbuilding
                                  & Engineering Works
Launched: Chester, Pennsylvania, 16 July 1890
Owner: Alaska Steamship Co.


Bound from Valdez to Seattle, encountered heavy drift ice in the vicinity of Lemesurier Island in Cross Sound. Although ship was being operated cautiously, extreme tidal currents carried large masses of glacial ice crashing into the vessel's hull.


After hours battling the ice, at 9:38 a.m. the hull was breached and Yucatan commenced to take on water. The captain prepared the lifeboats and passengers to evacuate, then steamed for a protected stretch of shoreline upon which to ground his sinking vessel. Against all odds, this maneuver was successful and the ship ran aground in shallow water. The passengers and crew were evacuated safely before the aft portion of the vessel settled to the bottom.

Circumstances of Loss

casualty Details

Incident Type: Iceberg Collision
Date of Casualty: 16 Feb 1910
Severity: Intentionally Grounded
Crew Aboard: 84
Passengers Aboard: 65
Recovery: Refloated & repaired
Captain: W.P.S. Porter
Wreck Location: Icy Strait


Wreck Investigation

After many months of costly effort, the Yucatan was finally refloated on 22 May 1910 and towed to dry-dock in British Columbia. Estimates for repairs ran as high as $170,000, and the underwriters argued with the steamship company over how much work was required and just what repairs should be done.


Finally, the still-damaged hulk was sold to a San Francisco steamship company in January 1911 for just $40,000.

Explore the Yucatan Shipwreck


A detailed account of the Yucatan shipwreck written by Steve Lloyd was published in the Sea Chest, the journal of the Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society. Click the page on the left to open a PDF of Steve's article in a new window.