A.J. Goddard Dive Trips

Dive Flag
Lake Laberge,
Whitehorse, Yukon.

Phone (867)633-4734, Cell (867)334-4990
Or you can e-mail me.
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Trip Description

We are organising charter trips down Lake Laberge to dive the wreck of the A.J. Goddard, a paddle wheeler that sank during a storm in the early years of the 20th century. These 2-tank dive trips depart from Deep Creek (Lake Laberge's campground), head down the lake to the wreck site, returning to Deep Creek after the day of diving.

We supply the boat and boat operator, 2 - 80 cu. ft. cylinders of air (steel 72's available on request), a basic lunch (sandwiches) and bottled water. We have basic safety equipment aboard, including a first aid kit, marine radio, life jackets and a DAN oxygen kit. Divers are responsible for all their own personal and dive gear - rentals for suits and scuba equipment can be arranged by contacting me prior to the dive trip day. I recommend each diver take an inexpensive raincoat (wind break) with them in case of wet weather and a toque for the boat ride.

Getting There:

All divers meet at the boat launch at Deep Creek by the designated time. There is limited space availability for some who require rides from town - contact me to arrange for a ride, if required. As this is an all-day trip in an open boat, divers should be ready for all weather conditions - bring along some basic rainwear, which can also be used as a wind break during the long ride back. Divers should put their basic scuba equipment together before boarding the boat at Deep Creek but may don their dive suit on shore near the dive site prior to the first dive (might be warmer on the boat ride with wet suits on, though). We plan on going ashore both before and after the first dive, for a light lunch and some short exploration during our surface interval. We will, then, return to the dive site for our second dive, returning to Deep Creek to finish up our day after another, brief, shore stop.

The ride to and from the dive site should take just over an hour, but, depending on weather, may take longer. This lake is known to blow up in the afternoon, so be prepared for a longer return trip, should this happen..

Dive Details:

Each diver is expected to be responsible for themselves. We encourage and expect divers to dive with a buddy and dives will not be divemaster led unless requested. While the depth of this dive site is under 60' (18 m), the dives are classed as advanced dives due to the remoteness of the location and because of the poor visibility in the water (actually about 35' depth). We will have a descent line in the water (buoy line or anchor line) and divers are encouraged to use these lines for their descents and ascents. We expect divers to stay close to the wreck (within visual contact) and to ascend close to the dive boat. As we have only one boat, we cannot lift anchor to retrieve divers who surface far from the boat.

Remember that we are diving at altitude (over 2250 feet / 680 metres) and altitude dive tables (or appropriately adjusted dive computerrs) should be used ( 50' ocean equivilant depth. All divers are encouraged to stay well within their no-decompression limits and to complete a 3-minute safety stop (or longer) during their ascent. Remember, we are diving at a remote location and medical assistance is a long ways away.


Costs for this trip may vary, depending on the charter operator used. Check with me for the expected cost of the trip you are interested in. As I'm trying to keep the costs to a minimum, these trips will only proceed if the boat is filled, so final confirmation will depend on the number of divers signing up. Once the trip is confirmed, the trip costs are non-refundable (but they are transferrable to another diver). Should the trip be cancelled prior to the trip being confirmed, deposits will be fully refunded or applied to another trip, at your direction. Should the charter operator have to cancel, due to either weather, equipment malfunction or personal reasons, either a full refund will be made or the trip will be rescheduled (preferable). There will be additional charges, of course, should you rent any scuba equipment or wet suits, etc. and this must be all arranged prior to the trip.

The first to sign up and pay the fees will be confirmed on the trip of their choice. Most of these charters can take a maximum of 6 divers, only.


We are diving a Yukon Protected Heritage Site and permits are required to access this site. We take care of this for you - all we require is each diver's full name, address and e-mail address well in advance of the trip so the proper permits can be obtained.

Because this is a protected heritage site, it is a "look but don't touch" dive site. That means divers are encouraged to look at the artefacts scattered around and on the ship but, please, don't move or remove anything from this site. All artefacts remaining at this site have been inventoried, photographed and marked to ensure they are available for all divers, now and in the future, to see and enjoy. Please respect this policy - it is the law and we don't want to have this site shut down to recreational diving. This also a grave site as three people died during the sinking of the ship.

The Story:

This paddlewheeler was built for A.J. Goddard in San Fransisco in 1898 and was shipped, via Seattle, to Skagway where it was disassembled and hauled over the Coast Mountains (White Pass, likely) to Lake Bennett, where it was reassembled. The plates were riveted together to form the steel hull and local trees were cut in Goddard's mill for all the timbers and planking, etc. required. The boat then proceeded through the southern lakes, down the Yukon River (the Lewes River), through Miles Canyon and Whitehorse Rapids to Lake Laberge, then onward, via the Thirty-Mile River, to Dawson. It spent many years transporting men and supplies between Whitehorse and Dawson and points in between.

During a storm on October 22, 1901, the ship appears to have lost power, resulting in a wave swamping the main deck, sinking the ship. When diving the Goddard, you will notice the ship appears nearly perectly in shape. The boiler door is open and charred wood can be seen inside, suggesting the boiler was being relit as the ship foundered.

This ship is 50' (15.5 m) long with the paddlewheel still attached at the rear. The hatch doors have floated away long ago but wood can still be seen in the forward holds. Many items can be seen, both on the wreck and on the surrounding lake bottom.

Watch and, just maybe, I can get a photo of you with a portion of the ship as a backdrop.

The Diving:

We attempt to anchor close to the ship (sometimes we get real lucky). Divers finish getting geared up, do their buddy check and do a back roll into the water from the sides of the dive boat, then swim to the anchor line and follow the anchor line to the bottom and, hopefully, the wreck. Watch your air supply and leave sufficient air for the swim back up the anchor line to the surface, stopping at 15' - 20' for your safety stop. Remember, at this altitude, this dive is equivilant to a 50' dive at sea level (and on your dive tables), so be governed accordingly. We usually have a drop tank at about 15' below the boat should anyone need extra air to complete their safety stop - go ahead and use this air as it's spare, anyway.

Divers should then swim to the boat and hand up their weight belts first, then remove their scuba unit, ensuring there is sufficient air in it to keep it afloat, then remove their fins and climb the ladder onto the boat. We will put ashore to change tanks for the next dive or to stow equipment for the return trip.

On past dives, we have found upwards of 20' - 25' visibility (until divers stirred up the bottom) and relatively warm waters. The bottom is silty, so please ensure your bouyancy keeps you horizontal and well off the bottom so you don't stir up more silt. Please do not attempt to swim through the structure of the ship as there is a real danger of getting hung up on the structure or of breaking off the piping (or both).

Watch around the paddlewheel and under the sides of the ship for schools of whitefish and for burbot - there are lots of them enjoying the refuge of this artificial reef.

Keep visual contact with the ship as the bottom is featureless and you may not find your way back to the anchor line for your ascent. Enjoy your dive and remember, you are among the first people to see this ship in 109 years - this wreck is older than the Titanic and in much better shape.

Confirmed and Interested Attendees
Proposed Trip Dates: To be Announced, 2011
Trip Date
Deposit Paid
Meet at
Deep Creek at:
Comments, Needs
Larry BonnettAll DatesYesYes9:00 amBringing the cylinders, lunch, etc. Have room if someone needs a ride.

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