Explore shipwrecks on Lake Huron's coast

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Divers ready to explore shipwreck

May 30, 2018

Two divers exploring underwater

It's easy to explore Lake Huron shipwrecks 

Hundreds of shipwrecks lie beneath the blue waves of Lake Huron – a testament to the maritime history of the Great Lakes region and its often-fierce weather conditions.

Shipwrecks may conjure images of mighty storms and sunken treasure, but in the Great Lakes, you’re more likely to find iron ore and lost cargo than gold (although the History Channel's The Curse of Civil War Gold is hoping to prove that wrong).

Gold or no, shipwrecks themselves are a treasure for Michigan’s coastal communities, attracting visitors curious to see them. Many wrecks are located in water so shallow, scuba gear isn't needed to get up close.

Freshwater divers and snorkelers often have a better opportunity to enjoy high-quality sites than marine divers; the cold waters of the Great Lakes (unsalted, as many tongue-in-cheek T-shirts advertise) preserve wrecks better than an ocean environment.

Michigan’s Coastal Management Program supported the Noble Odyssey Foundation to improve information and access to these sunken pieces of Michigan history. The program's mission is to protect both the natural and cultural resources of the Great Lakes coast.

Luke Clyburn, President of the Noble Odyssey Foundation, is a dive and shipwreck enthusiast. He wears many hats, including ship captain and master SCUBA diver instructor. 

"Marine historians feel that the stories to be told about shallow-water wrecks are important," said Clyburn. "For several years, support from the Michigan Coastal Management Program has provided us with opportunities to learn more about these vessels and their stories." 

A group of researchers gets ready to dive

Researchers set out in the 80-foot Pride of Michigan and 28-foot Inter-Seas Explorer to document shipwrecks between Port Austin and Port Huron. The area touches the Tip of the Thumb Heritage Water Trail and the Blue Water Trail.

Clyburn said, "With our research vessel Pride of Michigan and its crew of U.S. Navy Sea Cadets under the direction of scientists, many important studies have been completed." 

Findings are posted at www.coastalshipwrecks.com.  

Protect our maritime heritage - practice respectful diving

Michigan has 13 underwater preserves and the magnificent Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, located over the area known as “Shipwreck Alley.” To date, nearly 100 shipwrecks have been discovered within the sanctuary.

It's certain that there are more wrecks yet to be discovered on the Great Lakes, and these public sites are open to anyone who wishes to explore them.  

Visit Michigan's Coastal Management Program online to learn more about its work to connect people to the Great Lakes. 

Michigan's Coastal Management Program celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2018 with Year of the Coast. Follow on social media with #YearoftheCoast2018.

The Office of the Great Lakes works in partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

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