Shipwrecks are a big part of Michigan history. The lumber barons of West Michigan loaded great ships with timber and sent them across the lake. Loads of coal, iron ore, and passengers, too, made their way to Chicago, Milwaukee, and other faraway places. Each trip across the lake was a risky undertaking as ships were at the mercy of the often unpredictable lake. Anyone who has ever watched a storm roll in across Lake Michigan has some idea of how powerful and unpredictable the wind and waves can be. Our many Coast Guard stations and lighthouses are a testament to the awesome and deadly power of the “Big Lake.”
Shipwrecks, victims of these powerful winds and waves, each have a story to tell, and these stories serve to remind us of our history and our humanity. Because we understand the value of these stories, we know that shipwrecks must be protected.
The equivalent of dry land preserves, underwater preserves are recognized as places of distinctive historical and recreational interest. The West Michigan Underwater Preserve promotes recreational diving and conservation of our West Michigan shipwrecks, as well as promoting maritime history awareness and maritime heritage tourism. Learn more about the West Michigan Underwater Preserve.