Straits of Mackinac Shipwreck Preserve

Northwest

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’

History

The Northwest is a 223′ schooner built in 1873 in Bangor MI as the Alexander Moore. She was under tow by the propeller Aurora in April 1898 when she  impacted 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 surface. 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.  There is a very interesting donkey steam engine amidships.

Present Condition

Upright, but collapsed to one side and somewhat 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, detached from the stern.  Schools of fish frequent this wreck.  The depth and size of this wreck makes it a fun, interesting and easy dive.

Mooring Buoy Status

Currently moored (6/9/18).  This mooring is attached to a helix anchor just off the starboard side of the wreck, near the donkey boiler and winch.   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.  We now have a much taller, lighted buoy on this site, under Coast Guard permit!

Northwest Photos

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  • Northwest donkey boiler
  • Northwest rudder
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