The National Marine Sanctuary System of protected waters was established in 1972. The system includes everything from a marine national monument (Papah?naumoku?kea, located in Hawaii) to our very own local Sanctuary. Located between Cape Ann and Cape Cod in the Gulf of Maine, this jewel has provided a rich feeding ground for whales, dolphins and other marine life for centuries. It's been used for shipping traffic and commercial fishing, and many European immigrants passed through its waters in the 17th-19th centuries.

For many years, passenger vessels traveling south to Boston crossed through Stellwagen Bank or Jeffreys Ledge, and numerous shipwrecks lie beneath its waters, providing unusual architecture for the marine life. Cape Ann, MA, just 30 miles northeast of Boston, has become a popular diving destination. Divers explore shipwrecks, including one that rests just 15 minutes from the nation's oldest fishing harbor in Gloucester. Read on to learn more about the shipwreck of the coastal tanker Chester Poling, sunk in January of 1977.

More information: Cape Ann Tourism

Chester Poling

Decades after the unfortunate sinking of the Chester Poling, caused by high winds and rough seas, the vessel, split in two by a huge wave, rests at 190' (bow) and more than 80' (stern) deep. The shipwreck draws deep divers, especially to the stern section that has better visibility, depending on conditions and the time of year. The wreck is full of anemones and an abundance of marine life. Cape Ann, MA area divers often experience deep diving for the first time when they visit this site.

Enjoying Cape Ann Marine Life

Whether you're interested in diving or are happy to explore marine life perched comfortably on the deck of the Miss Cape Ann, we invite you to visit us here in Gloucester. Reserve a spot on one of our whale watches and begin the adventure of a lifetime, learning about the mystical magical world of the life in our oceans.

Learn more: Massachusetts Whale Watching

Whale Watch Excursions in Boston
Whale Watch Excursions in Boston
Whale Watch Excursions in Boston
Whale Watch
whale breaching
Image version of the boat and whale
Sightings Guaranteed. Adjacent to the Visitor Center of New England.
Video clips from "The Humpback: New England’s Spectacular Whale"     © The Whale Center of New England