NEW ENGLAND—Spoiler alert: the 25-foot behemoth of a shark in “Jaws” dies at the end of the film – but not before it destroyed Orca, the small fishing boat attempting to wrangle the sea menace just off the coast of the fictional Amity Island. We all know the shark in “Jaws” wasn’t real – but did you know the destroyed Orca was actually a replica?
There were two Orcas on the set of “Jaws” – Orca I was the actual wooden fishing (lobster) boat featured throughout most of the film, and Orca II, a fiberglass replica seen during the final act (when she was pummeled and destroyed by the mechanical shark).
Orca I, a 29-foot trawler, was originally known as Warlock. She was used as a lobster boat in the New England area. The “Jaws” production team purchased Warlock from Marblehead, Massachusetts, according to Bangor Daily News.
“This is the boat used in most of the regular fishing scenes,” the Bangor Daily News article on Orca I and II stated. “But when you see a boat that’s sinking or being destroyed, that’s Orca 2.”
Orca II was not equipped with an engine. She did have a few breakaway sterns, though, and was prominently featured when the mechanical shark landed on her back and ate Capt. Quint alive.
Orca I, meanwhile, made it back to Universal Studios after filming and was sold to an L.A.-area fisherman (before the film was released, according to Bangor Daily News). Universal Studios reportedly purchased Orca I back from the fisherman shortly after “Jaws” became a summer blockbuster hit – at a price significantly higher than what the studio sold it for prior to the film’s release.
What happened to Orca II? Here’s what the IMDb.com page on “Jaws” says about the replica:
“After filming, the second Orca, used for the sinking scenes, was left on … the beach along the estuary across from the town of Menemsha. The boat remained a minor attraction over the years, but without security much of it was vandalized by souvenir hunters, and storms and lack of maintenance soon destroyed most of the structure. As of 2019, most of the boat is buried, with only the skeleton and part of the stern remaining visible. The spot is easily accessible to boaters.”