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stepping stones of maritime history


The Dageraad was a yacht that was built in Middelburg and owned by the Zeeland Chamber of the VOC. She left the port of Wielingen on 18 January 1693 on her maiden voyage to the East.

The Dageraad was involved in a salvage action in St Helena's bay where another VOC vessel, the Gouden Buys, was stranded in October 1693. The Dageraad transported 17 chests of valuables belonging to the Gouden Buys.

-Wreck location of the Gouden Buys and the Dageraad


When the Dageraad came near Cape Town, she hit rocks on the West coast of Robben Island and 16 people on board the Dageraad lost their lives. The Dageraad had attempted to signal distress prior to wrecking, but this went unnoticed. The loss of the Dageraad and its contents was a significant loss to the Dutch East India Company.

Drawing of a yacht from Witsen 1671.

MasterJan Tak
People on board75
Tonnage100 ton (50 last)


There were numerous contemporary salvage attempts to try and recover the specie, although they were largely unsuccessful. The most famous attempted salvage was undertaken in 1728 by the notable salvor, John Lethbridge, but with little success. However, it is reported that 3 of the 17 chests of specie were indeed recovered.

It is unclear whether the wreck itself can still be found, though seeing as the most likely wreck site is characterised by strong currents and a rocky seabed with little sediment, chances for finding substantial shipwreck material are slim. The suspected wreck site lies within the one nautical-mile limit around Robben Island. Until 1996, the island still housed prison facilities and until that time, no salvage or research permits were granted by the South African Government due to perceived security risks. A permit was applied for in 1983 and was initially issued by the National Monuments Council (NMC), but it was then cancelled as the prison service did not approve.

There is a lot of secrecy surrounding the wreck and salvers are not willing to share if they have worked on it or at its location. As such, the status of this site is unknown.

It should be noted that the wreck of the Dageraad is protected in terms of the National Heritage Resources Act, No. 25 of 1999. This act regards historic shipwrecks as well. The site may not be disturbed without the permission of the South African Resources Agency (SAHRA) and artifacts removed from the wreck may not be traded without SAHRA's permission.

SAHRA logo.


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