Key West Maritime Historical Society Collection of Marine Paintings
U.S. Schooner SHARK
Length 86 ft. Beam 24 ft. 7 in. Depth 10 ft. 4 in.
Built in the Washington Navy Yard and launched in 1821
Lt. Matthew G. Perry was given command of the schooner and ordered to the west coast of Africa to aid in the suppression of the slave trade and piracy.
The next year SHARK joined Commodore James Biddle’s squadron for the suppression of piracy and slave trading in the West Indies.
In March of 1822, SHARK arrived at Key West where Lt. Perry raised the flag and took formal possession of the Florida Keys in the name of the United States.
SHARK made many visits to Key West in the course of her busy career. The fine little ship sailed the West Indies, the coast of Africa, the Gulf of Mexico, Newfoundland, the Mediterranean, and in 1839 was the first American warship to sail through the Strait of Magellan from east to west.
For five years SHARK cruised along the South and Central American coast protecting American citizens and property. In 1846 she was sent to Honolulu for repairs in preparation for an exploratory voyage up the Columbia River in Oregon. Where this great river meets the sea is one of the most dangerous places in the world with shifting shoals and monstrous seas. In an effort to cross the bar, SHARK struck an uncharted shoal and was swept into the breakers by a swift tide. The ship was an entire loss, but her entire crew was saved.
Fine-art giclee print is available - email the artist for pricing.