Swash Channel Wreck Rudder Lift

Update: The first artefacts from the Wreck have gone on show at Poole Museum this Saturday (26/07/14), including a replica of the wreck carving that we helped to raise last year. With this Poole Museum Society have written the following blog detailing the history of the wreck and trading within Poole Harbour.


When a Dutch dredging ship struck an obstacle in 1990 at Poole Harbour, a site already well known for its wrecks, little attention was paid for over a decade. However, after an investigation of the site was commissioned in 2004 the UK’s largest underwater excavation – since the Mary Rose 20 years before – was started by Bournemouth University.

Although its exact identity is still unknown the Swash Channel Wreck is thought to be a Dutch merchant ship built around 1628 that sunk just a few years later. As well as large parts of the ship being intact and well preserved a number of carvings, some of the earliest found on a wreck site in the world, have been rescued from the site.

Swash Channel Wreck Rudder Carving

The largest section of the ship to be raised, the 8.3m elaborately carved rudder that weighs 3.5 tonnes, was raised last summer with the help of Commercial & Specialised Diving. This huge carving posed a number of challenges due to its immense size and fragile nature. CSD were consulted during the design of the bespoke two phase lifting frame and cradle, as well as conducting all dives during the lift to ensure the rudder was lifted safely and securely.


After CSD successfully lifted the rudder early in the summer last year, it has been transported to the York Archaeological Trust where it is being preserved for two years before going on show at Poole Museum in 2015 or 16.

For more information on the wreck the BBC’s The One Show produced a piece on the wreck shown above, for which we provided the underwater cameramen.