Straits of Mackinac Shipwreck Preserve


Depth: 12′
Dimensions: 154.1′ x 30.4′ x 10.8′
Cargo: Iron ore, from Escanaba for Cleveland
Cause of Sinking: Stranded in shallows
Built: 1867, Buffalo NY by Charles Bidwell
Date Lost:  November 6, 1867
Construction: Wooden 3-mast schooner, scroll figurehead
Propulsion: Wind
Skill Level: Novice / snorkel / kayak
Location: N45° 42.929′   W084° 33.798′


The Albemarle was built as a schooner for the Winslow brothers of Buffalo to carry bulk cargoes between the upper lakes and Lake Erie ports, but she last less than 4 months in service before being driven aground just west of Point Au Sable (now Point Nipigon).  Within days of stranding, salvors had removed her masts, anchors, and other equipment.  Much of her 900-ton cargo of ore was removed in 1868, and the ship was abandoned by her owners in March 1869. The vessel had been valued at $30,000 and the cargo at $23,000, and as a new vessel it was mostly covered by insurance.

Present Condition

The Albemarle now lies in the sandy area west of Pt. Nipigon, and is exposed or covered differently each year.  The keel with centerboard trunk is still intact and rises well up off the bottom, and a pile of iron ore is mounded around this structure.  The outline of the ships hull is sometimes exposed by shifting sands, and portions of decking or planked sides also appear and disappear.  This is a good vessel for learning about schooner construction.

Mooring Buoy Status

The mooring was reinstalled in May 2024.  This site has a mooring near the centerboard a short distance from the iron ore pile, with other sections expending at an angle around this structure.  The site is only about 300 feet from the Henry Clay, but is farther away from shore.  The Outhwaite sits a short distance to the east, along the edge of the sand bank.

The Straits of Mackinac Shipwreck Preserve maintains seasonal moorings at this site. Mooring are normally available from late May to early September, the moorings make for easier location, safer diving and protect shipwrecks from damage from anchors and hooks. Vessels are required to use these moorings when they’re present.

Photos of the Albemarle

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