Straits of Mackinac Shipwreck Preserve

Colonel Ellsworth

Depth: 70′ to 85′
Dimensions: 137′ x 26′ x12′
Cargo: None
Cause of Sinking: Collision w/ schooner Emily B. Maxwell
Built: 1861, Euclid, Ohio
Date Lost: September 2nd, 1896
Construction: Wooden Schooner
Propulsion: Sail, 3 masts, bark rigged
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Location: N45° 48.743′  W085° 01.056′


The Ellsworth was caught in a southwest gale and overnight rainstorm  resulting in a 4 AM collision with the Emily B. Maxwell.  The Ellsworth then sank bow first.  The crew escaped in the yawl to the Maxwell, which delivered them to Mackinaw City.  The Ellsworth had only recently returned to service after spending the previous winter ashore near Whitefish Point on Lake Superior.  Much of her equipment was salvaged, including her anchors and rigging.

Present Condition

Upright, port-side rail broken off and laying on the bottom, but large hatch openings and clear hold allow for a lengthy swim-through.  The bow is bent upwards, tipping the windlass (mooring point) slightly.  The wreck sits on a mast, sticking out to the starboard bow, not unlike the Minneapolis.  This location is often frequented by schools of whitefish and perch.

Mooring Buoy Status

This buoy has been removed for 2019 season.  We installed a mooring on the Col. Ellsworth in early June 2018, for the first time in several years.  Thank you to everyone that requested a mooring on this site.  Due to the distance from home, this will probably be one of the first moorings removed in September, so don’t delay your visit.  Our coordinates were spot-on, too!

Col. Ellsworth Photos

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  • Ellsworth hull
  • Ellsworth underdeck