New Jersey Shipwrecks

350 Years in the Graveyard
of the Atlantic

By Margaret Thomas Buchholz

“Superbly documented… highly recommended.”
—  MBR Bookwatch

Winner of the Foundation for Coast Guard History's award - "A brilliantly researched chronicle of shipwrecks along the New Jersey Shore from 1642 to the present day."

ISBN 978-1-59322-050-1
142 illustrations; 200 pp. 11.25 x 10.25"
Includes selected bibliography, shipwreck appendix, and index
With this revised, redesigned 2nd deluxe softcover edition for 2023, we’ve taken the opportunity to carefully improve the book design, add more historic photos and illustrations, and completely re-scan previous images for improved reproduction —
bringing out details not seen in the earlier printings.

"Buchholz writes about New Jersey's maritime casualties with vigor, knowledge and style. Buchholz brings these shipwrecks to vivid life from the viewpoints of the terrified voyagers and the brave people trying to save them."
The Star Ledger


New Jersey Shipwrecks takes us on a gripping voyage through the "Graveyard of the Atlantic," a name bestowed upon the state’s treacherous shoals and inlets. Before this coastline became a summer playground of second homes and resort beaches, it was a wild frontier of uninhabited and shifting sandbars. From the days of sail to steam and oil, ships (and even submarines) have been drawn to this coast. And, for thousands of vessels, it became their final resting-place.

Early rescuers braved the seas, rowing small boats, using simple buoys and rope to help the wreck victims. Others invented new technologies to assist in rescues. Quoting from original documents, letters and reports, Shipwrecks reveals the sense of duty and service which prevailed in these brave rescuers; many devoted their lives — literally — to help save the men and women whose own lives were turned upside down in stormy Atlantic waters.

From the early wrecks of the 18th century to the present day, the life-and-death drama of maritime disasters is captured in Shipwrecks, along with the history of the U. S. Lifesaving Service (later to become the Coast Guard), lighthouses, legends, and true accounts of heroism.

One hundred and forty-two historic photographs and illustrations are included in this large-format hardcover. The book includes a listing of hundreds of other wrecks along the Jersey Shore, as well as an index and bibliography.


“This large, handsome coffee-table book is lavishly illustrated… but the research and quality of the writing make this a picture book most people will actually want to read.”

— The Times,Trenton

“Tales vastly more interesting, and with a fascinating cast of characters, are told in New Jersey Shipwrecks.”

— The New York Times

“New Jersey Shipwrecks commands attention with its gripping true tales of life, death, survival and rescue.”

— Midwest Book Review

“Rather than just giving facts and figures, she adds a human touch…. Buchholz writes with a storyteller’s skill in recounting this fascinating segment of maritime history.”

— ForeWord Magazine

“Superbly documented... highly recommended.”
— MBR Bookwatch

"Margaret Buchholz has written a gripping and informative account of what appears to be America's deadliest coastline. After reading New Jersey Shipwrecks, you'll never look at the Jersey Shore as before. Forget needles and pollution, it’s the shifting shoals and treacherous shallows that make these waters so dangerous. Thank God for modern engines and GPS. A great read."

W. Hodding Carter, author of A Viking Voyage and Stolen Water: Saving the Everglades from its Friends, Foes and Florida

"New Jersey Shipwrecks: 350 Years in the Graveyard of the Atlantic is a book of historic importance and a moving tribute to the spirit of the courageous people who died trying to reach the beaches of New Jersey. Buchholz writes with exquisite detail. A passionate researcher, she has transformed historical documentation, filling pages with vivid and powerful accounts of life and death. It reads like an engrossing novel. New Jersey Shipwrecks is a visual and literary feast. I was swept away."

Sharon J. Wohlmuth, New York Times best-selling author of Sisters, Mothers and Daughters and Best Friends

"Over the centuries the New Jersey Shore has acted like a magnet luring hundreds of wayward ships to its beaches. These gripping tales are recounted in stunning detail by Margaret Thomas Buchholz. The writing is crisp and numerous illustrations are dramatic. The acts of heroism in the face of such calamity affirms basic human survival. Once you start reading Shipwrecks, you will not put this book down.

Gary Jobson, championship sailor, America’s Cup Hall of Fame inductee, Herreshoff Trophy winner, ESPN sailing commentator, 2004 Athens Olympics commentator for NBC

"With New Jersey Shipwrecks: 350 Years in the Graveyard of the Atlantic, author Margaret Buchholz continues her tradition of bringing New Jersey coastal history to vivid life through her unmistakably intelligent, attention-capturing writing style and graphically-rich books. Her depth of research is unmatched, ensuring readers that they are experiencing the state’s famous — and obscure — shipwrecks and rescues as they happened. When her career comes to a close, Buchholz can rest easy knowing that her body of work ranks among the best maritime history ever published in the United States."

John J. Galluzzo, Editor, Wreck & Rescue Journal
US Life-Saving Service Heritage Association

"The ocean can be both coy and menacing, and never more so than in the way it hoards the secrets and the sorrows of the vessels it takes into permanent custody. New Jersey Shipwrecks offers a marvelous and detailed unveiling of an underwater world that combines dream and nightmare in equal measure."

Madeleine Blais, Professor of Journalism, University of Massachusetts; author of Uphill Walkers: Portrait of a Family and the national best-seller In These Girls, Hope Is A Muscle

"Margaret Thomas Buchholz's book is a well-written and wonderfully illustrated book that recounts the fascinating and often frightful stories of the major shipwrecks and disasters along the treacherous New Jersey coast. This book is a fitting tribute to the heroism and sacrifice of the lifesavers and to the trials and tribulations of the victims of these calamities. Shipwrecks will certainly entertain and educate readers about the dangers of seafaring and the limits of human endurance."

Robert M. Browning Jr., Chief Historian, U.S. Coast Guard


...The vessel began to settle, and a woman came stumbling up to them with her little boy in her arms, screaming, "For God’s sake, save my little one!" The engineer moved to take the boy, but, Dr. Rico said, "the final tremble of the steamer came as the engineer tried to get hold of the child " he just had time to catch the fore rigging as she sank. "At least twenty-five men got into the rigging, but one by one, they lost their hold." The little boy was lost.

Casarego had been thrown out of bed when the vessels collided. He pulled on some clothes and ran on deck. "Here was a pitiful sight,? he later said. ?Women were kneeling, praying to the Virgin to help them, and men and sailors were running wildly about as though they had lost all presence of mind." The liner was sinking fast, and Casarego jumped into the frigid water and climbed onto some floating spars...

...If a ship grounded on any of the offshore shoals and didn’t break up, but was blown over it and stranded near enough to shore for the crew to swim in – if the water was warm enough to avoid hypothermia – what awaited the men on the beach? On the barrier islands south of Manasquan Inlet the dunes rose to 20 feet and behind them was a dense growth of bayberry, sumac, cedar, scrub pine, sea oats, and beach plum, with a tidal marsh beyond that. And perhaps an occasional fishing or gunning shack, but no villages...

“Amazing heroism.”
— The Press of Atlantic City

“Gripping accounts”
— Book News


Margaret Thomas Buchholz is the co-author of Great Storms of the Jersey Shore, editor of the historical anthology Shore Chronicles: Diaries and Travelers’ Tales from the Jersey Shore 1764-1955, Fisherman's Wife, and The Long Beach Island Reader; and is author of Josephine: From Washington Working Girl to Fisherman's Wife. and Island Album - Photographs and Memories of Long Beach Island. She was editor of The Beachcomber, a weekly newspaper on Long Beach Island, where she lives.


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