The wooden hulled steamlighter Enterprise (30t) was owned by Messrs Logan & Son, fish merchants in Paisley and skippered by Captain Dugald Carmichael. Launched in Glasgow in 1865 she was typical of many of these small vessels that plied the rivers and sea lochs of the west coast of Scotland, delivering supplies to the communities of the islands. On 19th November 1882 she was en route from Greenock to Tarbert on Loch Fyne with empty herring boxes with a crew of seven aboard. That same evening the steamship Strathendrick (500t) was inbound from Limerick to Glasgow.
It was around 6pm and darkness had fallen some time earlier making both skippers alert but not concerned as the night was clear. Both vessels approached Kempock Point, Gourock and seemed to be well positioned to pass port to port when the Enterprise suddenly veered across the bows of the Strathendrick. There was no time for the skipper of the other ship to take avoiding action and the Strathendrick’s bow tore into the starboard side of the Enterprise, amidships cutting her to the water line. She was doomed. Five of her crew managed to clamber aboard the Strathendrick before she sank taking her mate and fireman with her. Although the Strathendrick and some other vessels which had come out from shore to assist searched the area for some time, there was no sign of the two men amid the hundreds of floating herring boxes from the Enterprise’s cargo.
The Wreck Today
The wreck of the Enterprise has almost completely disappeared but her boiler still stands upright in 32 metres about 100 metres off shore at Kempock Point in position 55° 57.833’N, 04° 49.282’W. Around the boiler there are a few bits and pieces of wreckage including some of the copper plating of the ship’s hull.
The site lies very close to the route of the Gourock to Dunoon ferry and, as such, boat cover and the clear display of an ‘A’ flag are essential. Better still, arrange your dive between the ferry times. The site is also subject to some tidal flow at certain states of the tide and visibility is rarely more than two or three metres.