What Is the Graveyard of the Atlantic?

The term “Graveyard of the Atlantic” may refer to the North Carolina Coast extending to the Outer Banks region near Cape Hatteras or the Sable Island area off Nova Scotia that extends to Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Both areas present navigational hazards that have caused numerous shipwrecks since the 16th century.

The coast of North Carolina extending from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay to the Outer Banks region of Cape Hatteras is the site of more than 5,000 sinking ships since the first was recorded in 1526. Most of the wrecks that occur here are due to constantly shifting sandbars, unpredictable currents and powerful storms.

The Sable Island area off the coast of Nova Scotia is the site of 475 shipwrecks and plane crashes as of 2015. The convergence of the Labrador and Gulf currents produces rough seas, dense fog and unpredictable weather that force ships to run.