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Interactive map highlights Great Lakes shipwrecks

A diver explores the wreck of the Cedarville. Credit: Jitka Hanakova.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has published an interactive map of Great Lakes shipwrecks.

The map shows the difficult level of diving the wreck, whether it's accessible by kayak or canoe, a description of the ship with photos and drawings, if available, as well as information about the circumstances of the sinking.

There are an estimated 6,000 shipwrecks throughout the Great Lakes.

The Michigan Shipwrecks StoryMap explains the mystery and tragedy surrounding the ships. 

The Michigan Shipwrecks Public Web App offers a closer look at shipwrecks, locations of lighthouses and boating access sites. You can also search for shipwrecks by name or location and print your own maps.

“This new tool gives divers, kayakers, snorkelers and armchair explorers a chance to learn more about these underwater archaeological sites and the circumstances that led to the shipwrecks,” said Sandra Clark, director of the Michigan History Center. “It’s a wonderfully interactive way to help people connect with this part of Michigan’s maritime history.”

Some high profile wrecks are not included on the map because they are considered underwater burial sites.

Clark wants to remind the public that Michigan law prohibits removal of any artifacts from shipwrecks.

“The wrecks on the Great Lakes bottomlands belong to the people of Michigan,” she said. “If everyone follows the rule of ’take only pictures and leave only bubbles,” we can ensure that these underwater time capsules will be available for future generations to explore, research and enjoy.”


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