Local diver shares mysteries of the deep

By Zach Levine - Howell Patch

Dan Lieb, of the New Jersey Historical Divers Association, presented a vast array of information on deep sea diving and shipwrecks to patrons of the Howell Public Library on Thursday evening.

For most of Dan Lieb’s life, he has been fascinated with what is found under the surface of the ocean.

During his career as a member of the New Jersey Historical Divers Association (NJHDA), Lieb has helped locate 13 shipwrecks under the waters. He shared his vast knowledge of shipwrecks with patrons of the Howell Township Public Library on Thursday evening.

This event featured Lieb giving a slideshow presentation documenting the history of shipwrecks in the Garden State.

He began by asking the audience what famous shipwrecks they knew of, and he got back answers including Titanic, and Lusitania. He brought up a more famous local shipwreck, the Morro Castle, saying that he thought this shipwreck which took the lives of 137 individuals was much more fascinating than that of more well known shipwrecks like the Titanic.

“What happened with the Titanic was a mundane accident,” he said. “On the Morro Castle, you had scenes of corruption and murder, much more interesting events.”

Lieb then went into his presentation on shipwrecks, explaining that in the 1840’s, insurance companies did not want to offer monetary supprt to ships heading to New Jersey, since a great number of ships would end up getting shipwrecked. He explained these ships would crash through a myriad of causes, including storms, mechanical failures, collisions with other ships and even explosions.

“There have been about 7200 cases of shipwrecks off the coast of New Jersey,” he said, adding that number was just under the amount of ships that have crashed in all five of the Great Lakes combined.

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