Scuba Diving Trips in the Great Lakes

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great lakes
Diving the Great Lakes provides a unique and unparalleled experience for adventure seekers. The Great Lakes offer divers the opportunity to explore some of the most well-preserved shipwrecks in the world, many of which date back to the 1800s. The cold freshwater environment of the Great Lakes has helped to preserve these wrecks, and the visibility can be excellent, allowing divers to fully appreciate the history and beauty of these underwater time capsules.

In addition to shipwrecks, the Great Lakes offer divers the chance to explore underwater caves, rock formations and a diverse range of aquatic life. The crystal-clear waters of the Great Lakes is great for photographers and videographers to capture stunning images of the underwater world, and the abundance of marine life, including freshwater trout, salmon and sturgeon, makes for a memorable dive experience.

While diving the Great Lakes can be challenging due to the colder temperatures and depth, it is also highly rewarding for experienced divers looking for a unique and exciting diving experience.

What To Expect

Scuba Diving

Diving the Great Lakes is a wreck diver’s paradise. With over 6,000 wrecks, well presevered from the cold water, there is something unique for everyone. The Great Lakes offer a one-of-a-kind adventure that combines history, nature and adventure in a way that is hard to find anywhere else.

Keep your eye out for:

  • Sturgeon
  • Walleye
  • Salmon
  • Trout
  • Bass

Recommended Specialty Courses

  • Dry suit diving
  • Wreck diving
  • Perfect buoyancy
  • Deep diving

Grand Haven, MI

The Ironsides is a  wooden, twin-propelled steamer built to haul iron ore during the Civil War. In 1873, during heavy seas, the ship foundered, taking with her 21 of the 50 passengers on board. Today, the Ironsides sits upright and is partially intact. This wreck sits in 120ft of water, so this location is for experienced divers.


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Michigan City, IN

Michigan City is home to F. W. Wheeler, a wooden streamer that became stranded during a December 1893 blizzard. Luckily for the crew, she sank 1,200ft offshore and local rescue crews saved all 16 sailors. Today, the wreck sits in 30ft of water and is broken into three sections with shifting sands that continually cover and uncover artifacts. Close by lies the Wheeler. In her youth, the Wheeler was a passenger steamer, but the aging wooded vessel fell from grace and ended her career as a sand sucker that eventually caught fire. The hull sits at 25ft deep.


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New Buffalo, MI

When you envision a shipwreck, it probably looks a lot like the Hume. In 1891, this 131ft long schooner sank far offshore in Lake Michigan. For the next 112 years, she was listed as ‘missing without a trace’ along with her crew of seven. In 2003, the wreck was discovered, sitting upright and in beautiful condition. The port bow anchor is resting in place. The chains spill off the starboard bow and the mast lies across the deck. This wreck lies 24 miles offshore of New Buffalo, so you need a full-day charter and perfect weather conditions. Depth is the second issue. The deck sits at 135ft of water so recreational divers must be comfortable with the depth. Those wishing to dive to the anchors and hull will hit 150ft and must be technically trained.


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Whitehall, MI

Make a weekend of shipwreck diving and pair Grand Haven and Whitehall together; it’s only a 30-minute drive apart. In Whitehall, we will dive the State of Michigan wooden steamer. During her career, she was stranded twice and survived the gale storm of 1880. When she finally met her demise, all the crew managed to escape. Today she rests in 65ft of water with the highest point of the wreck starting at 45ft. She is partially intact. The second wreck, the Brightie, was built in 1868 and measured 182ft long. She had a 60-year career before sinking in 1928. Seven persons were onboard, one did not manage to make it to shore.

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Port Sanilac, MI

Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserve stretches from Lexington in the south to Forestville in the north. It is perfect for beginner to intermediate sports divers. At least 16 shipwrecks sit above 120ft of water. Among the best known are the Regina (25ft-45ft), Sport (25ft-45ft), Checotah (117ft), Mary Alice B (92ft) and Charles S. Price (47ft-64ft).


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Presque Isle, MI

Off the coast of Presque Isle and Rodger City lies the Typo in 195ft of water. The Typo is a 3-masted schooner that sank intact with a mast still standing. The ship’s bell remains hanging atop the windless, with coal and debris spilling from the stern where the impact of a collision occurred. Along with Typo lies Defiance and John J. Audubon. Today, you’ll find the Audubon in 178ft of water, nicely intact. The Defiance was a 2-masted schooner that rests intact in 185ft of water. A diver favorite includes the Kyle Spangler, which is one of the most intact canal schooners preserved in Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. In 1860, she collided with another schooner and sank within 10 minutes.

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Thunder Bay National Sanctuary, MI

There are almost 100 shipwreck stories to discover when you dive Thunder Bay. All sites are protected within the only National Marine Sanctuary. Depths range from shallow to deep but we focus on shipwrecks that sit in 60ft -100ft.

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Tobermory, Canada

The small town of Tobermory, Canada is simply charming. First, there’s the picturesque harbor. It buzzes with excitement every morning as divers ready themselves to explore history-rich shipwrecks. Then there’s the scattering of family-owned ice cream shops, motels and eateries. Stroll down the boardwalk and you’ll pass hikers returning from a day on the Bruce Trail and bikers cycling the coastline of Georgian Bay. The Fathom Five National Marine Park is home to 25 shipwrecks and interesting underwater geology. Signature wrecks include the Niagara II, a steel sand sucker that sits upright and intact in 45-65ft of water. The Sweepstakes wreck is for newbies. It is an 1800 schooner that lies in only 20ft of water. The Arabia, a three-masted barque that rests in 120ft of water.


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Mackinaw City, MI

Mackinaw City is the perfect summer weekend vacation. Come early or stay longer because there is plenty to see. Besides diving, there are endless scenic hikes, the famous ‘Mighty Mac’ bridge, picturesque Mackinac Island, historical forts and lighthouses and the Headlands International Dark Sky Park for star gazing and possibly seeing aurora borealis.

Dive the recently discovered Dolphin shipwreck. She is beautiful and sits intact in 110ft of water. This 2-mast schooner collided with the bark Badger State in 1869 and sank within 20 minutes. She was rediscovered in 2021. The Dolphin has an intact cabin and wheel, masts on the deck and several hatches still in place.

The Sandusky Brig is exactly what you imagine an 18th-century shipwreck to look like. She sits upright and sports a scroll figurehead, bowsprit with chains, windlass and anchors.

The Eber Ward is a wooden steamer that has three anchors and a large steam engine.

The largest shipwreck is the Cedarville, a massive freighter that is difficult to explore on just one dive.

The wreck of the Young is a 100-year-old schooner barge that was discovered in 2002.

The William H. Barnum wreck lies in 58-75ft of water after hitting the ice and is perfect for intermediate divers.

The Maitland wreck is also perfect for intermediate diver. She was in tow when colliding with the Golden Harvest Steamer and now rests in a watery grave.

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Popular Wrecks

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Thomas Hume – Lake Michigan

In 1891, this 131ft long schooner sank far offshore in Lake Michigan. For the next 112 years, she was listed as ‘missing without a trace’ along with her crew of seven. In 2003, the wreck was discovered, sitting upright and in beautiful condition. The port bow anchor is resting in place. The chains spill off the starboard bow and the mast lies across the deck.

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Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary – Lake Huron

Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary is a protected area located in Lake Huron. It was established to preserve and protect the remains of nearly 100 shipwrecks that are located in the area, many of which are well-preserved and have historical significance. The sanctuary also promotes research, education and recreational activities related to the maritime heritage of the region.

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SS Cedarville – Straits of Mackinac

One of the largest wrecks in the Great Lakes, the SS Cedarville is hard to explore in just one dive. It was a large freighter that collided with another ship, leading to its sinking. The ship sits between 40-106ft of water, making it accessible for all levels of divers.

What prior travelers say
“All the fun without any of the hassle! Diving with Diventures gives us the opportunity to go and try out new places without having to do all the research and planning. And with the added bonus of making awesome new friends along the way!”
– Kathleen K.

Traveler Photos

Know Before You Go

Dive Insurance

Dive insurance is required on all Diventures trips. We recommend purchasing DAN dive insurance.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is not required but highly recommended for all Diventures trips. We recommend purchasing DAN trip insurance.

Exposure Suit

A 7mm wetsuit or dry suit is recommended.

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