Straits of Mackinac Shipwreck Preserve

L.B. Coates

Depth: 8′
Dimensions: 116′ x 25′ x 8′, 129 gross tons, 189 gross tons
Cargo:  none
Cause of Sinking: Abandoned at Whitehall Lumber Co. dock
Built: 1874, Saugatuck MI, by John B. Martel
Date Lost:  Abandoned August, 1921
Construction: Wooden schooner, 3 masts
Propulsion: Wind
Skill Level: Novice / snorkel / kayak
Location: N45° 39.917′   W084° 29.406′


This vessel was named for Captain Linford Baines Coates, one of the owners of the Saugatuck Lumber Co.  Captain Coates lived on Mackinac Island and, in 1878, formed Coates and Arnold Steamship Co, forerunner of Arnold Transporation Co that continues today.   The L.B. Coates was last owned by Ben Pardee of Bay City, MI, and was listed in 1921 as “Abandoned – unfit for service” and  was left to decay at the Whitehall Lumber Co. dock.  She was built by the same man that built the Myrtie M. Ross, which lies only 200 ft away.

Present Condition

Today both the dock and the ship have  been broken up, leaving nothing above the surface.  About 100 ft of the keel structure remains, and lies parallel to the shore.  The centerboard box comes close to the surface and can be a hazard to boats.

Mooring Buoy Status

Moor at the Myrtie Ross and swim towards shore to find this wreck, following a light line that will guide you.  A separate buoy may be installed at some point, if a suitable anchor point can be located.  Consult your charts, and watch for pilings as you carefully approach the site.


Photos of the L.B. Coates

  • p133-lb-coates-at-oconto-1917