Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Carroll A. Deering

As a young boy I loved to listen to my father tell tales about Ocracoke. One of my favorites was the story of the “Ghost Ship of the Outer Banks.” On summer trips to Ocracoke we always borrowed my Uncle Marvin’s WWII army surplus jeep at least once, and drove to the north end of the island. Along the way we would stop at the wreck of the Carroll A. Deering. Since late February of 1921 the bow of the Deering, along with her heavy iron capstan, lay on the beach several miles south of Hatteras Inlet. The wreckage was distinctive. I would stare at the massive timbers and listen with full attention as my father retold the mysterious tale.

Wreck of the Deering, Photo courtesy of M.R. Dixon

The five masted schooner, Carroll A. Deering, was launched April 4, 1919 by the G.G. Deering Company Yards in Bath, Maine. She was the last and largest ship that eighty-six year old Gardiner Deering built. Named for his youngest son, the massive vessel was just over 255 feet long, weighed more than two thousand tons, and carried six thousand yards of sail. She was impressive by any measure. 

US CG Image of the Deering

The Deering wrecked January 31, 1921. The sails were up, tables were set, and food was in the galley stove, but no crew members were aboard the vessel, just a cat. The Deering has become known as the Ghost Ship of the Outer Banks, and the mystery of her wrecking has never been solved.

An Internet search will yield numerous links. Here is the Wikipedia article:

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article about the Ocracoke Crab Festival which was held each May from 1984 to 1989. You can read it here:


  1. That is very interesting!

  2. Anonymous6:10 PM

    How fortunate for us that you were a good listener.
    Are your grandchildren like you?
    Do they read your blog?

    1. My grandchildren listen to my stories...but there is no telling what will catch their interest later in life. Everyone needs to follow his or her own path.