Horseneck Point Lifesaving Station this summer features "Notorious Shipwrecks off Westport!," an exhibit that opened June 24.
The entrance to Buzzards Bay is littered with shipwrecks, though it is impossible be certain of how many ships have been lost in this area of shoals and reefs, dense fog, and strong tides, according to a news release. Locally, most vessels went aground on Hen and Chickens Reef at the southern end of Gooseberry Island, the Westport Fishermen's Association said. Although nowadays there are fewer wrecks due to improvements in navigation, these waters still hold many stories.
Artifacts and tales about the fate of three large ships, more than 300 feet long, that went aground nearby — the USS Yankee (1908), the HMCS St. Francis (1945) and the Angela (1971) — are on display.
"We have found records to locate 20 wrecks in Westport area waters, but many more have been lost in the sands of time," the association said.
The exhibit also has a blank nautical chart for anyone who knows about other wrecks to add information.
The opening reception was Saturday, June 24. Exhibit hours are Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, 12 to 4 p.m., through Sept. 3. Admission is free, although donations are welcome. The exhibit is supported in part by the Chip Gillespie Memorial Fund and by a grant from the Westport Cultural Council.