Littered top top the bottom the the great Lakes room the remains of an ext than 6,000 shipwrecks gone missing on the an excellent Lakes since the late 1600s as soon as the very first commercial sailing ships started plying the region, most during the heyday of commercial shipping in the nineteenth century. The vast expanse of this inland waterways noted a organic transportation system linking the Midwestern states and portions the Canada to the remainder of the world.

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CLICK HERE for a menu of marine losses in the south east quadrant of Lake Michigan.


Unpredictable weather provides them several of the most dangerous waters in the world. Sudden storms, fire, and also fog have resulted in the damage of these plenty of thousands that vessels. Simply over twenty percent of those vessels have come to rest top top the bottom the Lake Michigan, second only in amount to Lake Huron. Hefty passenger and also cargo profession to the cities of Chicago, Milwaukee, and the many small lakefront communities on the eastern and also western shores, merged with the prevailing northwest winds that have actually the full 400-mile size of the lake come build, conspired to finish the careers of virtually 2000 vessels and also the resides of hundreds of people. Several hundred of this vessels—mostly hard-to-maneuver sailing crafts—have been the victim of the raging winds and also currents that pounded them into kindling follow me shore. However, numerous hundreds an ext were lost in deep water much offshore. To date, only some 300 shipwrecks have actually been found past the surf heat in Lake Michigan within the state waters of Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and also Michigan. Many more await discovery.

While the passage of time obscured this shipwrecks, they generally were no forgotten. When equipment for searching and also diving became accessible and affordable following human being War II, early on explorers sought the end these shipwrecks in order come recover artifacts for an individual collections or to market to others. The media routinely reported the feats of this diving pioneers and when the public had the chance to watch shipwrecks carried up piece by piece, excitement and also interest grew.

When underwater motion snapshot and still photography became accessible to entertain divers in the so late 1970s, they had actually the way to re-superstructure their occupations through imagery in enhancement to the artefacts they found. A number of film festivals cropped up about the an excellent Lakes and also the sport of shipwreck hunting and also diving increased exponentially. More and much more shipwrecks were found and many more artifacts to be recovered. The pictures, worth the proverbial “thousand words,” noted the media v even better ways to convey these exciting stories the adventure and discovery.

Although the divers got great enjoyment (and occasionally cash) for the artifacts, archaeologists and also historians eventually took violation at the ns of historic data the occurs when things is recovered without suitable documentation or conservation and parceled out to exclusive collections. The very same technologies that served to make shipwreck diving feasible also detailed archaeologists the devices to work underwater, generating a whole new movement in the great Lakes. At this exact same time, divers additionally began seeing how they were destroying their very own dive sites. By 1987, president Ronald Reagan signed into law the abandoned Shipwreck Act, claiming ownership of shipwrecks and in turn, turning that ownership and management responsibility to the individual says on whose bottomlands the wrecks rested. Each state climate enacted laws, all making the a felony come remove artefacts from or damages a shipwreck.

MSRA was established a variety of years after ~ the establishment of these brand-new laws enacted to protect shipwrecks for every the various groups having an interest, or “stake” in them. The company represents a variety of those stakeholder groups, consisting of recreational divers, charter watercraft operators, archaeologists, historians, and also museum specialists and also the public. MSRA see shipwrecks not just as entertain dive sites however as laboratories because that archaeologists, historians, and also scientists. Shipwrecks can provide the data that can solve the mysteries of your sinkings, they sell up info that allow writers to pen the final chapters of these vessels’ careers, lock generate amazing information to share v the public and create the incentive to build museum exhibits.

Believing the a brand-new shipwreck exploration provides the “hook” to study Michigan’s marine past, MSRA conducts research in order to find the wrecks, mounts an annual search expedition, discovers shipwrecks, records the sites, and also interprets them because that the public. MSRA’s early area of focus has to be the southerly quarter of Lake Michigan in ~ Michigan waters, back MSRA will work outside those boundaries.

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This part of the net site is separated into 4 sections as detailed in the upper right where friend can check out both the lost and also found wrecks of east Lake Michigan.