10 Lakes with Historic Wreck Sites to Dive For | LakeWizard

Key Takeaways

  • Explore shipwrecks and dive into history across America's lakes.
  • Discover why these lakes are a hotspot for divers worldwide.
  • Perfect your next dive with trusted, historical dive sites.

Beneath the waves, history waits for those daring enough to explore.

Ever fancied about time traveling?

Diving into these lakes is close as it gets!

Tantalizing tales and remnants of the past lie submerged in lakes across the U.S., inviting you to discover their secrets.

You'll be amazed by the stories etched into each underwater site.

These historic shipwrecks aren't just for history buffs; they're a diver's dream.

From the icy depths of the Great Lakes to the serene waters of Crater Lake, these sites boast well-preserved vessels and captivating tales of their fateful voyages.

As you plan your next dive adventure, rest assured that these lakes offer not only an exciting dive but also a glimpse into the windows of history.

Table of contents


Lake Superior

Have you ever imagined exploring a sunken piece of history beneath waves?

If so, Lake Superior is your underwater playground.

Often referred to as the "graveyard of the Great Lakes," this vast lake is a diver's trove of historic shipwrecks.

Isle Royale & Apostle Islands:

Prepare to indulge your adventurous side!

These sites are home to an array of wrecks, preserving maritime tales of yore.

Remarkable Wrecks:

  • SS Cyprus: Encountered a fierce storm and sank in 1907, taking with it 21 souls.
  • SS Henry B. Smith: Fell victim to the Great Lake Storm of 1913.

Is the water cold?

You bet!

Diving Conditions: expect temperatures between 34º to 38º Fahrenheit (1° to 3° Celsius).

This means you’ll need your full wetsuit, but the chill is a small price to pay for the sights that await.

Experience Required:

These are not beginner dives due to tight interiors and challenging conditions, so ensure you're comfortable with your intermediate or expert diving skills.

Snapshot of Lake Superior's Diving Spots:

Site Visibility Notable Wrecks
Isle Royale Moderate Numerous early 20th-century shipwrecks
Apostle Islands Clear Shipwrecks from the 1800s

So, why delay?

Plan your dive to encounter the gripping history nestled on Lake Superior’s floor.

Just remember, while you’re discovering these underwater sanctuaries, you're also a steward of history—so dive responsibly!

Lake Michigan

Are you craving an underwater adventure through history?

Good news!

Lake Michigan is one of the most spellbinding places for historic wreck dives.

Let's talk about what, where, and why Lake Michigan deserves a spot on your dive bucket list.

What's Under the Surface?

Imagine slipping beneath the waves into the past where wooden schooners and steel steamers rest.

The Southwest Michigan Underwater Preserve near South Haven showcases the Havana, a schooner that met its fate in 1887.

What can you expect to see?

Well, it's a spectacle of old ship construction with the hull, keelson, and centerboard still intact.

Iconic Dive Sites

  • SS Wisconsin: Located off Milwaukee, this ship encountered a fierce storm in 1929 and has since become a magnet for experienced divers.
  • Lake Michigan Shipwrecks: The Milwaukee area is drowning in maritime tales. Here you can explore the Prins Willem V, Car Ferry Milwaukee, and more.
  • The Manitou Passage Underwater Preserve: Not only shipwrecks, but historic dock ruins await.

Why Dive Here?

You're not just swimming around; you're brushing against the edges of time.

And if you're looking for a group to join, Aquatic Adventures is known for their dive charters exploring these historical treasures.

Connect with the Past The Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary's Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center in Alpena is a testament to these underwater marvels.

You'll find engaging exhibits that complement your diving experience.

Remember, with each dive, you're witnessing chapters of history most only read about.

Are you ready to dive into the pages of the deep blue Lake Michigan?

Lake Huron

Hey there, fellow history buff and underwater adventure seeker!

I bet you didn’t expect to find such treasure troves close to home, did you?

Well, brace yourself, because Lake Huron is a literal deep dive into the past.

It boasts some of the most remarkable shipwreck diving spots in all of the Great Lakes, with 12 Underwater Preserves just teeming with unseen stories!

So, what can you expect to see in Lake Huron’s blue depths?

Let's break it down:

  • Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserve: At a spacious 163 square miles, this dive spot is loaded with over 16 shipwrecks just waiting for you to discover. Ever heard of the Sport? She was the first steel tug to brave the Great Lakes and now lies as an intriguing relic for you to explore.
  • Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary: This sanctuary is not just about protecting marine life. It's a historical haven that contains an impressive collection of well-preserved shipwrecks. Think of it as an underwater museum!

Here's a quick glance at what else you'll find under the waves:

Notable Wreck Features
Regina A celebrated dive, discovered in 1986, famous for artifacts.
Monohansett Lies in three sections, accessible at a depth of 18 feet.

The Michigan History Center has even pitched in with an interactive map, so before you know it, you'll have all the info you need to set sail on a shipwreck scavenger hunt!

And if you prefer the company, there are plenty of local charters and guides who would be thrilled to partner up and share these hidden histories.

Remember, whether you're just dipping your toes into wreck diving or you're an old hand at navigating nautical narratives, Lake Huron's underwater preserves are a deep dive into the past that promise both adventure and awe-inspiring moments!

Happy diving, my friend!

Lake Erie

Fancy a dive into history?

Lake Erie, the shallowest of all the Great Lakes, holds a treasure trove of shipwrecks just waiting for you to explore.

With an average depth of only 62 feet and certain areas reaching up to 210 feet, these sites are perfect for both recreational and technical divers like yourself.

Shipwrecks to Explore

  • John J. Boland: Found within Zone 1, this wreck is up to 10 miles from Barcelona, NY.
  • Betty Hedger & George Whelan
  • Washington Irving: This two-masted schooner lies eerily in 120 feet of water.

Dive operators, you ask?

Well, Osprey Charters has got your back for a memorable dive in these historic waters.

Here's what you need to know:

Osprey Charters Pricing:

  • Full Charter: $1,000
  • Walk On Diver: $100

Dive and Discover

While you're underwater, remember Lake Erie's not just another Great Lake; it has witnessed the stories of an estimated 1,400 shipwrecks.

Isn't that impressive?

These wrecks aren’t just sunken ships; they are time capsules preserving moments of the past.

So zip up your wetsuit, because every dive is a unique chance to witness a piece of history firsthand.

Before you know it, you’ll be back on dry land, full of tales about your underwater exploits in Lake Erie, where history lies just beneath the surface.

Are you ready to make some waves?

Lake Ontario

Have you ever fancied exploring an underwater museum filled with historic secrets?

Lake Ontario is your submerged treasure trove, just off the coast of Kingston.

It's not just about the lakeside views and boating; beneath the surface lies a world-class diving destination with intriguing shipwrecks that draw divers from all over.

Why is Lake Ontario so captivating for divers?

For starters:

  • It's home to the second oldest shipwreck in the Great Lakes, the Lady Washington, lost in 1803.
  • The HMS Ontario, a British warship from 1780, lies fully intact and is deemed to be the oldest confirmed wreck in the lake.

Here’s a quick look at what you could discover beneath the waves:

  • Shipwrecks: Over 100 shipwrecks, each with a story etched into its barnacle-encrusted frame.
  • Dive Sites: From wall dives to shore dives, it’s a palette of aquatic adventures.
  • Visibility: Sometimes, clarity under Lake Ontario can outshine other popular diving spots.

Did you know?

During an underwater mission, a team of divers uncovered the Lady Washington.

It's a historical snapshot perfectly preserved on the lake's bottom.

Imagine gearing up, the weight of 45 kilos of dive equipment securing you as you step into the cool embrace of the lake.

Here's what you need to know before your dive:

  • Suit Up! A seven-millimeter wetsuit will keep the chilly waters at bay.
  • See Clearly. With the right conditions, visibility can be exceptional, surpassing many ocean sites.

Don’t you just love how every dive here is not just a swim, but a plunge through time?

Dive into Lake Ontario, and who knows?

Maybe you'll be part of the next big historic discovery!

Lake Champlain

Have you ever imagined diving into history?

Lake Champlain is a prime destination for explorers like you, with its rich tapestry of underwater treasures!

Nestled between New York and Vermont, this lake is more than just a picturesque expanse of water; it’s a submerged museum boasting historic shipwrecks dating back to the Revolutionary War and War of 1812.

Quick Facts:

  • Location: Border of New York and Vermont
  • Notable Wrecks: Revolutionary War and War of 1812 vessels

Diving season here runs from May to October, catering to a range of skill levels.

It's like an underwater adventure park, where you can glide through history!

Current Sites Open for Exploration:

  • Number of Dive Sites: 12
  • First Dive Site Opened: 1985
  • Additional Sites for 2024: Pot Ash Point Canal Boat, Providence Island Canal Sloop

Did You Know?

  • The Steamboat Phoenix is the world's oldest steamboat wreck lying at the bottom of Lake Champlain. When she launched in 1815, could anyone have anticipated her fiery end just four years later on September 4, 1819?

Why dive here?

  • Accessible Shipwrecks: Perfect for history buffs and diving enthusiasts alike!
  • Well-Preserved Sites: Managed by the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation and the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.

So grab your gear, and prepare to touch a piece of history beneath the waters of Lake Champlain.

Who knows what stories await your discovery?

Clear Lake, California

Have you heard about the underwater adventures that await at Clear Lake, California?

As the largest natural freshwater lake entirely in California, this spot isn't just for boating and fishing.

It's a diver's haven, especially if you're into exploring historic wrecks.

Dive Sites and Wrecks:

  • Great Late Pioneer: Known for its connection to Bob Lorenz, a pioneer dive shop owner, Clear Lake offers a dive into history.
  • New Airplane Wreck: Reports suggest a Hellcat wreck at 180 feet below the surface, adding a new chapter to Clear Lake's diving scene as of January 2024.

Visibility and Conditions:

  • Crystal-clear waters with visibility often exceeding 100 feet allow you to gaze upon the lake's treasures.
  • The lake's conditions can vary, but its spring-fed nature keeps it fairly consistent for those looking underwater.

Ease of Access:

  1. Clearlake State Park: Coordinates: 5300 Soda Bay Rd, Kelseyville, CA
  1. Available from sunrise to sunset
  2. Parking requires a fee, with designated spots available
  3. If hiking and diving are on your to-do list, this state park has it all.

The allure of Clear Lake's underwater world is undeniable.

With wrecks dating back to historical times and visibility that rivals that of the tropics, your next dive trip could be as enchanting as it is memorable.

Ready to take the plunge and explore the depths of Clear Lake, California?

Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada

Have you ever imagined exploring historic shipwrecks without braving the ocean's depths?

Lake Tahoe has you covered.

On the border of California and Nevada, this alpine lake is famed for its crystal-clear waters and now, for the adventures that await beneath its surface.

Emerald Bay Maritime Heritage Trail

Did someone say underwater trail?

Yes, you heard that right.

Back in 2018, California State Parks introduced a scuba diver's dream: Emerald Bay Maritime Heritage Trail.

At four distinct dive sites, you'll come face-to-fin with Lake Tahoe's very own underwater museum of history.

What's down there?

  • Sunken barges
  • Historic recreational boats
  • Launches from Tahoe's earlier days

Imagine floating alongside the ghostly remains of a historic vessel, with informational placards guiding your journey.

These signs, strategically located with GPS precision, offer a narrative about Emerald Bay's legacy and the vessels that once traversed Tahoe's waters.

Shipwrecks and Stats

Do you crave details?

Here's what you might find interesting:

  • Shipwrecks from the early 20th century
  • The trail reveals the tale of Emerald Bay Resort's prime in the 1920s
  • Fallen Leaf Lake nearby, with its own history and alpine charm

Remember, these sites are more than just spots to dive; they're portals to another time.

And you don't have to be a history buff to appreciate the eerily beautiful sight of Tahoe's maritime past.

Just dive in – the water's inviting and the stories are waiting.

Lake Mead, Nevada/Arizona

Fancy diving into history?

At Lake Mead, you're in for a unique underwater adventure that combines natural beauty with historical intrigue.

Sandwiched between Nevada and Arizona, this expansive body of water was born from the construction of the iconic Hoover Dam.

Below its surface, it's not just about the fish and the odd piece of driftwood—there's a whole chapter of history waiting for you.

Notable Wreck Sites:

  • B-29 Superfortress: Did you know Lake Mead is home to a historic B-29 bomber aircraft? This relic from 1948 rests in the Overton Arm of the lake. It's not every day you can say you've seen a World War II-era bomber on a dive, right?
  • Boats and Vessels: Besides the B-29, the lake has become the final resting place for various boats. It's like a maritime museum where the exhibits are spread across the lakebed.

Depth and Visibility:

  • The average depth for exploring these sites ranges from 30 feet to 130 feet. Visibility can vary, so it's wise to check conditions before you dive.

Dive Conditions:

  • Due to fluctuating water levels, dive locations can change. Keep updated with local diving charters for the latest info.

Remember to dive responsibly and respect these historical treasures.

They're not just cool stories to share with your buddies but important pieces of the past preserved underwater.

So grab your gear, buddy up, and take the plunge into the pages of history at Lake Mead!

Crater Lake, Oregon

Have you ever imagined diving into the crystal-clear blue waters of one of the world's deepest lakes?

Crater Lake in Oregon isn't just a treat for the eyes; it's a dive into history.

With depths reaching 1,943 feet, it holds the title of the deepest lake in the United States—and it doesn't disappoint.

  • Location: Southern Oregon
  • Maximum Depth: 1,943 feet
  • Visibility: Exceptional due to the purity of the water

Imagine the thrill of discovering a piece of history beneath these tranquil waters.

Although not typically known for wreck sites, Crater Lake hides at least one small boat that met its watery end in its depths.

Did you know?

This lake was formed over 7,700 years ago from a collapsed volcano, Mount Mazama, giving it not just geological significance but an aura of ancient mystique.

Dive Details:

  • Known Wrecks: At least one small boat
  • Access: Diving is possible under special permissions

You may be wondering, "Can anyone dive here?" Diving in Crater Lake requires special consideration due to its status as a national park.

There are times when restrictions apply, so it's important to check the latest regulations before you plan your dive.

Remember, while the allure of diving in such a pristine environment is undeniable, it always comes with the responsibility to respect and protect the natural beauty and historical significance of places like Crater Lake.

Happy (and responsible) diving!