Straits of Mackinac Shipwreck Preserve

Maitland

Depth: 70′ to 85′
Dimensions: 133′ x 25′ x 13′
Cargo: 18,000 bushels corn loaded in Chicago for Buffalo
Cause of Sinking: Collision w/ schooners Golden Harvest and Mears
Built: 1861, Goderich Ontario by Henry Marlton
Date Lost: June 11, 1871
Construction: wood schooner, 1 deck, square stern, plain stem
Propulsion: Sail, 3-masts, rigged as a bark
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Location: N45° 48.249′   W084° 52.555′

History

The Maitland was loaded with corn from Chicago, bound for Buffalo, as she traversed the Straits on a clear fall evening.  In the darkness, the oncoming Golden Harvest was seen close ahead and helm was put hard to port to avoid a head-on collision.  A grazing blow could not be avoided and rigging was lost on both vessels but this was not the Maitland’s fatal blow.  Close behind the Golden Harvest was the other schooner, the Mears.  The oncoming Mears slammed into the Maitland’s starboard side and drove her timbers inboard,  taking her to the bottom in minutes.   The Maitland crew escaped in their yawl boat, and no lives were lost.  The masts and rigging were salvaged a few weeks later by Peter Falcon.

Present Condition

The Maitland lies upright and intact in 85′ depth.   Her  deck sports a large windlass, and the hatch openings lead to a heavily-silted interior.  The anchors are missing but the chains still dangle from the hawse-pipes.  The deck-house roof lies upside down off her starboard side.  The rudder remains hard to port, and the collision damage area is now falling inwards.  What was once a clear V-shaped impact point is now collapsed into the hull, as thoughtless divers forced the broken timbers aside to make a swim-through.  The collapsed hull section allowed a deck cross-beam to fall, and the deck is now beginning to collapse.  Please do not force your way through any openings, these wrecks are fragile!

Mooring Buoy Status

This mooring is located just off the port bow of the wreck, and a small line leads to the rail for when visibility is reduced.   The mooring is available from May to September, the moorings make for easier wreck location, safer diving and protect shipwrecks from damage from anchors and hooks.

Photos of the Maitland

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  • Maitland Shipwreck