The wreck of a fabled paddle steamer is being salvaged off Wrightsville Beach
By S imo n Go n z a l e z
The small disk was a luggage tag from the shipwreck of the fabled paddle steamer, lost since it went down
off the North Carolina coast in 1838. The inscription “SB Pulaski” confirmed that the joint Blue Water
Ventures and Endurance Exploration Group crew had found the remains of the famous ship.
“It’s a little brass tag with a little bit of lead on the back of it, but that’s one of the most exciting finds I’ve
ever had,” Grambo says. “I’ve never found anything that identified a ship. I’ve got to admit, that’s probably
one of the best moments.”
Further evidence came when the crew discovered a candlestick, also inscribed SB (Steam Boat) Pulaski. In
the treasure hunting business, provenance is everything. By proving that the coins and artifacts being recovered
came from the Pulaski, the little brass tag could mean millions.
“That was the biggest thing anybody could have given me,” says Keith
Webb, owner of Blue Water Ventures. “Once you have provenance,
we can put certificates of authenticity on
everything. That ups the value.”
The crew started diving the wreck in
September 2017. They recovered coins
that all predated the wreck, solid evidence
they had found the Pulaski.
But the excitement of finding
treasure was tempered by the
frustration of not having
The Blue Water Rose
left its berth at the Bridge
Tender Marina in January
and wintered in Florida.
The boat and crew
returned in April, finding
the tag and candlestick on one
of the early dives of the spring.
“That’s it,” Webb says. “The moment when
everything you believe, the exhaustive hours
of research, when you can prove that, it’s all
worth it. The wreck is legendary,