Straits of Mackinac Shipwreck Preserve

Shipwrecks

Cayuga

Depth: 67′ – 102′ — The Cayuga was one of five early steel sister ships. She was carrying grain and general merchandise when she encountered dense fog. The much smaller, wooden Joseph L. Hurd struck her on her starboard bow and she sank in 25 minutes. She tilts slightly to port and is gradually decaying with the bow beginning to collapse. The stern is relatively intact and allows some penetration. Although heavily salvaged, many details of her construction are present along with some hardware. Learn more…

Cedarville

Depth: 40′ – 112′ — This modern shipwreck is the result of controversial conduct by two ships. Carrying a cargo of limestone, the Cedarville was westbound when she ran into very heavy fog. The Cedarville continued moving relying on her radar and radio contact. The M.V. Topdalsfjord did not respond by radio resulting in confusion by the Cedarville officers. When the ships were near collision, the Cedarville attempted an emergency turn but was struck hard amidships on the port side. She rolled and sank during an attempt to beach the vessel, and lies nearly inverted on the bottom. Learn more…

Colonel Ellsworth

Depth: 70′ – 85′ — The Ellsworth was caught in a gale and rainstorm resulting in a collision with the Emily B. Maxwell. The Maxwell saved her crew. The Ellsworth then sank bow first. Owing to its distance well west of the Mackinac Bridge, the Ellsworth is a less frequently visited dive site. It is an excellent example of a schooner type vessel. She sits upright. Her bow is in better condition than her stern. Despite some collapsed decking, much hardware, deck fittings, and equipment remain. One mast lies on the port side lake floor. Learn more…

Eber Ward

Depth: 100′ – 140′ — While carrying a cargo of corn, the Ward struck a spring ice floe opening a large hole at her port bow. She went down quickly, taking five members of her crew with her as a lifeboat was dragged under. Eight men survived. Her upper works are gone but the hull remains upright, very well preserved and remarkably intact. Among other features, she has a unique mushroom anchor, two decks, a round stern, engine, boiler, early mechanical unloading equipment, and hand trucks stored in her bow top deck. Her smokestack lies on the starboard bottom and a lifeboat rests off her starboard stern. Topside a porcelain toilet and bathtub sit on the deck. Learn more…

Fred McBrier

Depth: 89′ – 104′ — Loaded with iron ore, the McBrier was towing two schooner barges at night when she was struck by the much larger propeller Progress. The collision gored a hole in her hull quickly sinking her. The entire crew was saved. The McBrier is upright but is breaking up. Her stern is mostly intact while her bow has separated. Much equipment is present including her engine, boilers, and windlass. Learn more…

Maitland

Depth: 70′ – 85′ — The victim of a peculiar collision, the Maitland was lost when she collided in a glancing blow starboard to starboard with the schooner Golden Harvest. While trying to recover by turning to port, she was struck near her starboard bow by the schooner barge Mears. The second collision made a long vertical slice in her hull causing her to sink in five minutes taking her cargo of corn with her. The top deck of the Maitland is well preserved and easily visited. The hull is upright and intact but below the top deck, the Maitland is heavily silted making any real penetration impossible. Nonetheless, the slice in her hull and much deck hardware and details are visible. The sampson post, cabin outline, rudder, bilges, mast holes and windlass are all present. Her deckhouse roof lies inverted off her starboard side at the stern. Learn more…

Martin Stalker

Depth: 85′ – 92′ — The Stalker fell prey to a November storm. She was attempting to ride out a gale while anchored east of Mackinaw City when the towed-barge Muskoka struck her. The collision took her headgear down and, loaded with a cargo of iron ore, she began to sink. Despite her bilge pumps and a dash for shore, she went down with her crew abandoning her. Sitting on a sloping lake floor, the Stalker is upright and her stern and midships are intact. Her bow is damaged. Much of her sailing gear remains including a windlass, winches, and rigging. A mast lies to starboard. Learn more…

Minneapolis

Depth: 60′ – 124′ — The Minneapolis was lost only one day after the Barnum sank. Carrying a cargo of wheat, with two schooner barges in tow, she was traveling east through a gale when she encountered ice floes. Apparently the ice opened her hull so that she began taking on water. Despite the use of her pumps, the hold was filling rapidly when the crew abandoned ship, transferring to one of the schooners just as she sank bow first. She sits on a sloping bottom, upright with the bow pointing slightly downward. The bow is broken open and the stern is decaying, but the very large propeller, engine, and boiler  are all present. An impressive rudder lies on its side off the starboard stern. Learn more…

Northwest

Depth: 52′ – 73′ — A schooner converted to barge use, the Northwest was under tow with a cargo of corn. She struck ice below her waterline and took on water. Her crew was taken aboard one of her escorts without loss of life. The Northwest is the fourth largest schooner ever lost on the Great Lakes. Today she is largely broken apart lying on the lake floor and bearing little resemblance to the single deck, four masted schooner she was once. Even in this condition, her deck and construction techniques are visible along with her mechanical equipment including a donkey steam engine, bilge pumps, and windlass. Her stern and rudder lie on the lake floor. One anchor is on display outside the Dossin Marine Museum on Detroit’s Belle Isle.  Learn more…

St. Andrew

Depth: 52′ – 60′ — Carrying corn, the St. Andrew sank following a nighttime collision with the schooner Peshtigo. In the collision, both ships sank quickly taking down two members of the Peshtigo crew. All of the St. Andrew crew took to her boats and were saved. The St. Andrew is upright but decaying. She has split into longitudinal sections but much of her bow and deck are still intact. The top deck shows some examples of the sailing hardware and construction of the time. Her centerboard sits upright and decking partially covers her windlass. Learn more…

Sandusky

Depth: 70′ – 84′ — No one survived the sinking of the Sandusky. She was carrying a crew of seven and a cargo of grain. A strong gale overwhelmed her west of McGulpin Point. A passing ship saw three sailors clinging to a spar but the gale prevented help from reaching them. The Sandusky is, perhaps, the best known and most visited dive site in the Straits of Mackinac. She is in relatively shallow water and is a well-preserved example of early Great Lakes sailing vessels. Upright on the bottom, her bowsprit still points upward and a ram’s head figurehead crowns the bow. Figureheads are not typical on Great Lakes ships and this one is a replica. The original was removed for preservation after an attempted theft some years ago, and is now on display at the Straits of Mackinac Shipwreck Museum at Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse. While much of her hardware has illegally disappeared over the years, her rudder, tiller, capstan, working bilge pump, masts and rigging are still on site. Learn more…

William H. Barnum

Depth: 50′ – 75′ — While carrying a cargo of corn, the aging Barnum was  cut by ice, and a beaching attempt was blocked by shore ice. No loss of life occurred. She is upright and partially intact. The bow still has parts of the two decks, which can be penetrated. The stern is collapsing but a large boiler and propeller are in place. The rudder was salvaged some years ago and is displayed on the waterfront in St. Ignace. Learn more…

William Young

Depth: 100 – 120′ — The Young was a former schooner bark converted to use as a tow barge. She was carrying a cargo of coal when lost. She began taking on water and sank in bad weather, but much gear was salvaged before she went under without loss of life.  The starboard bow broke open as she hit the bottom. The deck cabins are gone. The remainder of the hull is upright and in good condition. The holds are still full of coal eliminating any real penetration. The broken bow does, however, feature a “swim-through” from the forward hatch to the broken starboard bow, where an anchor sits on the wreckage. Because this wreck was not discovered until after 2000, it has not been looted and there is much to see. The ship’s wheel, two anchors, a capstan, windlass, deadeyes, one mast, rigging and hardware can all be seen.   Much more awaits discovery. Learn more…