Straits of Mackinac Shipwreck Preserve

William Young

Depth: 105′ to 125′
Dimensions: 139′ x 26′ x 12′
Cargo: Coal, from Buffalo for Racine WI
Cause of Sinking: Stress of weather (slow flooding via leaky seams)
Built: 1863, Madison Dock, Ohio by Bailey Shipbuilding
Date Lost:  October 5, 1891
Construction: Wooden schooner, built as 2-mast, 3-mast in 1889
Propulsion: Wind, later cut down to tow barge
Skill Level: Advanced
Location: N45° 48.777′   W084° 41.923′


The Young was built as a schooner, and was later cut down to a schooner barge.  She was one of 3 tow-barges behind the steamer Nashua, all carrying coal.   One barge was lost in Lake Erie, and the Young was noticed to be settling deep into the water when the others reached the Straits of Mackinac.  The crews worked to salvage the sails and rigging before the Young slipped out of sight.  The crew was rescued, but the 3rd barge was reported as lost in lower Lake Michigan before the Nashua reached Racine.

Present Condition

The Young sank slowly and settled upright and remains largely intact.  The starboard bow is broken open, but the decks are intact.  The cabin is missing.  The holds are still full of coal.  There are many artifacts and rigging still on-board for divers inspection.  A portion of wooden wreckage lies off the stern, and can be found by following a light line.  One mast lies along the starboard side, another is in deep water off the bow.   Please DO NOT take artifacts from this wreck – and this includes coal from the cargo!

Mooring Buoy Status

Buoy reinstalled in May 2023, buoy broke loose Sept 7, will not be redeployed until 2024.

 Normally moored to the mainmast traveler hardware (center-line of ship, ahead of 3rd hatch).  Please DO NOT try to hook this wreck, due to the danger of damaging the wheel.

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 should use these moorings whenever possible.

Photos of the William Young

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  • William Young Shipwreck
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  • William Young Shipwreck
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