Straits of Mackinac Shipwreck Preserve

Straits of Mackinac Shipwreck Preserve

The Straits of Mackinac Shipwreck Preserve is a 148 square mile area extending from Wilderness State Park to the Cheboygan area, including most of the South Channel, and extending to the northern edge of Mackinac Island. The preserve is divided in two by the Mackinac Bridge. The Preserve includes the waters offshore from Mackinaw City and St. Ignace, as well as all or part of the shorelines of Bois Blanc Island, Mackinac Island, Round Island, and St. Helena Island.

The preserve contains 12 marked shipwrecks, with additional sites in the shallows near shore, and others in deeper waters nearby.  Frequent fog, ice, and narrow shipping lanes were the cause of most area wrecks.  Half a dozen lighthouses in and around the preserve testify to the dangers that existed prior to the invention of radar in the 1940’s. Tragedies have continued, however. One modern wreck within the boundaries of the preserve is the Cedarville, a self-unloading freighter that sank in 1965 after a collision in fog.

Divers also visit underwater formations of Mackinac Breccia near Mackinac Island; one such formation, the Rock Maze, is offshore from Arch Rock. Further east off Arch Rock, a drowned, 100-foot-high waterfall formation, Mackinac Falls, was discovered in August 2007.

For those traveling with non-divers or divers looking for things to do between dives, the area offers a wide variety of activities for the whole family.