Exploring Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes of Northern Michigan

St. Ignace is located on the Straits of Mackinac, an area of the Great Lakes that has seen large numbers of ships founder in the last 150 years due to a combination of fog, ice, rocky shoals, and powerful gales. Most wrecks are protected, making them some of the most fascinating to explore. Many lost ships have yet to be discovered. Check out the ways that you can discover the shipwrecks of the Great Lakes of Northern Michigan in St. Ignace.

The Straits Scuba Center is the perfect place to start your exploration of lost ships. Divers of all skill levels can embark on an adventure on the Rec Diver, a boat made specifically to dive sites Great Lakes shipwrecks. You’ll be able to explore wrecks that range from wooden schooners & barges to a 588-foot steel freighter, the Cedarville, from the only dive center dedicated exclusively to diving in the Straits of Mackinac.

Built in 1927, the SS Cedarville is the 3rd largest wreck in the Great Lakes. One foggy morning in 1965, the ship collided with a Norwegian freighter and sank quickly. Most parts are fairly undamaged, and you can clearly see the inner workings of the ship through windows and examine its sizable smokestack. Even expert divers may enter.

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The wood steamer William H. Barnum was built in 1873 in Detroit, MI. In 1894, on the first voyage with a new captain, the ship ran into ice and began to take on take on water until it sank. The hull is mostly intact and beginner to intermediate skill level divers can explore the boilers, engine, and propeller.

The Eber Ward was built in 1888, and 21 years later, it came to rest on the bottom just 5 miles west of the Mackinac Bridge after its hull was torn apart by ice. She sits upright in great viewing condition, and seeing the ship, you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time.

Those are just a few of the amazing wrecks that you can explore in St. Ignace. Click here to learn more!

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There are 7 known ships are in very shallow areas that are possible to see while snorkeling or simply swimming. From depths ranging from 8 to 12 feet, you can see keel structures, ribs of ships, the outline of hulls, portions of decks and much more. You can kayak to many locations, too! Click here for more!

If diving isn’t your thing, you can go on a 2-hour, fully narrated trip without getting wet to visit two different shipwreck sites preserved by Lake Superior’s cold waters. The Bermuda (1860-1870) and Herman H. Hettler (1889-1926) are on the most popular route, and you’ll be able to gaze through the bottom of the boat to see shipwrecks just 10-20 feet below the surface in very clear waters. There’s plenty to see besides just the wrecks – you’ll also pass rock cliffs & caves on Grand Island, a historic lighthouse, and remains of a fur-trading settlement.

Whether its scuba diving shipwrecks or going on Glass Bottom Boat Tours, St. Ignace is the perfect place to explore shipwrecks in the Great Lakes. Feel free to request a visitor guide, sign-up for our newsletter, and book your stay today!