The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is considering a national marine sanctuary in eastern Lake Ontario to protect historically significant shipwrecks and related maritime heritage resources, and is holding four public meetings on the proposal.

This is the first step in the designation process, and the public can comment through July 31 on the proposed sanctuary online, by mail, or in person at the public meetings.

NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, which currently operates a system of 13 national marine sanctuaries and two marine national monuments, is proposing a 1,700-square-mile sanctuary, adjacent to Oswego, Jefferson, Cayuga and Wayne counties, that would protect 21 known shipwrecks and one military aircraft representing events spanning more than 200 years of our nation’s history. An additional 47 shipwrecks and two historic aircraft are also likely located within the proposed sanctuary boundaries, based on historical records.

The proposed sanctuary also includes a separate area surrounding the HMS Ontario, which is both the oldest confirmed shipwreck (1780) and the only fully-intact British warship discovered in the Great Lakes.

Public meetings to provide information and gather input on a proposed national marine sanctuary in Lake Ontario.


  • June 10, 6:30 – 8:00 pm, Fair Haven Fire Hall, 14447 Fair Haven Road, Sterling, New York (Cayuga County)
  • June 11, 6:30 – 8:00 pm, Emergency Operations Center, 7376 Route 31, Lyons, New York (Wayne County)
  • June 12, 6:30 – 8:00 pm, Lake Ontario Conference Center, 26 East 1st Street, Oswego, New York (Oswego County)
  • June 13, 6:30 – 8:00 pm, Jefferson Community College, 1220 Coffeen Street, Jules Center, Room 6-002, Watertown, New York  13601 (Jefferson County)

How to comment

Online: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal, Use docket number NOAA-NOS-2019-0032.

By mail: Comments should be addressed to:

Ellen Brody
Great Lakes Regional Coordinator
NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
4840 South State Road
Ann Arbor MI  48108

In person: At the public meetings above.

For more information, visit