Straits of Mackinac Shipwreck Preserve


Depth: 75′
Dimensions: 223′ x 38′ x 15′
Cargo: Corn, from Chicago for Buffalo
Cause of Sinking: Ice damage
Built: 1873, Bangor (West Bay City), Michigan by T. Boston
Date Lost: April 6th, 1898
Construction: Wood, built as 3-mast schooner.  4th mast added 1875
Propulsion: Sail, schooner rig, later converted to tow-barge
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Location: N45° 47.450’   W084° 51.488’


The Northwest is a 223′ schooner built in 1873 in Bangor MI. She was under tow by the propeller Aurora in April 1898 when she was struck by submerged ice and began to take on water. The Aurora attempted to tow her to shallow water, but was blocked by ice and the Northwest slipped beneath the ice and waves. The Aurora rescued the crew of the Northwest and no lives were lost.

The Northwest now lies in 73′ of water, six miles west of the bridge in Lake Michigan. She is upright and mostly broken up. The mooring is on the transom at the stern, which is laying on the bottom. There is a very interesting donkey steam engine amidships.

Present Condition

Upright, but broken up with lots to see.  A donkey steam engine, bilge pumps, and windlass are still present and her rudder lies next to her transom.  Schools of fish frequent this wreck.  The depth and size of this wreck makes it a fun, interesting and easy dive.

Mooring Buoy Status

This mooring will be attached to a helix anchor off the starboard side of the wreck, near the donkey boiler and winch.  A small guide line should be installed from the mooring to the winch/boiler area.  Mooring is normally available from mid-May to September, the moorings make for easier location, safer diving and protect shipwrecks from damage from anchors and hooks.

Northwest Photos

Northwest donkey boiler  Northwest rudder