Straits of Mackinac Shipwreck Preserve

Henry Clay

Depth: 10′
Dimensions: 87′ x 24′ x 9′, 163 gross tons
Cargo: Unknown
Cause of Sinking: Stranded in shallows
Built: 1842, Huron Ohio,  by Fairbanks Church
Date Lost:  December 3, 1850
Construction: Wooden 2-mast brig, square stern, scroll head
Propulsion: Wind
Skill Level: Novice / snorkel / kayak
Location: N45° 42.842′   W084° 33.897′


Very little is known about the career or the loss of the Henry Clay, and the existence of two 2-masted schooners by the same name leads to confusion when reviewing old news articles.  All we can say for certain is that the brig was pushed high up into the shallows north of today’s Point Nipigon in early December, 1850.  The crew was picked up by the propeller Troy, heading to Detroit from Chicago.

Present Condition

As this wreck is far up on the sand bar, timbers can be covered or revealed differently each dive season.  The hull outline has been visible at the surface of the sand some years, but recently only one section of timber was visible.

Mooring Buoy Status

This site has a mooring near the timbers exposed in 2017.  The site is only about 300 feet from the Albemarle, farther away from shore.

The Straits of Mackinac Shipwreck Preserve maintains seasonal moorings at this site. Mooring are normally available from late May to 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.