Rec & Tec Explorers – Dive Sites – Sanilac Shores

Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserve

Information from Michigan Underwater Preserves

Some of the most exciting shipwreck diving in the Great Lakes is found in the 163 square mile Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserve in Lake Huron. One of the most famous shipwrecks in the preserve is the Regina, a 250 foot steel package freighter that sank in the a fierce gale in 1913. The vessel was discovered in 1986.

The Regina rests upside down in 80 feet of water with the structure of the ship rising 25 feet from the bottom. Some cargo lies scattered adjacent to the wreck. Visibility at this site and throughout the preserve is variable and ranges from 10 to 40 feet.

Another popular dive site is the wreck of the Sport, a 57 foot steelhulled tugboat that sank in a gale in December 1920. The vessel lies mostly upright with a starboard list in about 50 feet of water and rises about 20 feet from the bottom. In 1992, Michigan's first underwater historical marker was placed on the Sport to inform divers about the historical significance of the vessel.

The Checotah was a schooner that sank while being towed in 1906. Although the stern is broken and scattered, this wreck offers excellent diving with many unusual artifacts.

The New York was a steamer that foundered in heavy seas in 1876. The vessel is especially interesting because of its oscillating steam engines. The New York, like many shipwrecks in this preserve, has many interesting artifacts associated with it. The Checotah and New York sites should only be explored by advanced divers, according to local charter operators. These vessels lie within a few hundred yards of each other in about 120 feet of water.

The Mary Alice B. is the newest wreck found in the preserve and has become very popular. Advanced divers will have an easy dive, as this totally intact vessel sits upright in 94 feet of water.

Other popular dive sites include the North Star, Col. A. B. Williams, and Eliza H. Strong.

In addition to excellent shipwreck diving, the Sanilac Shores area offers family fun. Historic attractions, such as the Port Sanilac Lighthouse, Sanilac Petroglyphs, and Lexington's Lake Huron Shipwreck Museum delight visitors of all ages.

Wreck Name Depth GPS   TDs   Sank
Charles A Street 10' N 43.35.50 W 82.27.50 30818.2 49413.1 20-Jul-1908
Charles S Price 75' N 43.09.174 W 82.21.174 30799.6 49622.5 9-Nov-1913
Checotah 117' N 43.36.107 W 82.28.170 30761.3 49413.5 30-Oct-1906
City of Genoa 64' N 43.08.78 W 82.22.31 30805.2 49625.3 26-Aug-1911
Col. A.B. Williams 80' N 43.36.235 W 82.30.805 30779.2 49407.1 1864
Eliza H Strong 22' N 43.15.709 W 82.30.581 30817.0 49570.6 26-Oct-1904
F.B. Gardner 55' N 43.31.63 W 82.31.77 30802.4 49446.8 15-Sep-1904
John Breeden 45' N 43.12.640 W 82.26.240 30823.2 49595.6 21-Jul-1899
City Of Milwaukee 165'   Waiting   To Be   Released    🙂 5-Nov-1875
Mary Alice B. 92' N 43.22.309 W 82.26.301 30790.8 49521.0 5-Sep-1975
Canisteo 98' N 43.14.142 W 82.18.292     25-Oct-1920
New York 117' N 43.36.23 W 82.28.272 30761 49411.9 Sep-1856
North Star 96' N 43.23.954 W 82.26.524 30787.0 49508.2 25-Nov-1908
Queen City 45' N 43.09.124 W 82.25.711 30831.2 49622.3 18-Aug-1863
Regina 77' N 43.20.434 W 82.26.787 30801.7 49535.2 9-Nov-1913
Sport 45' N 43.16.008 W 82.27.892 30825.0 49569.34 13-Dec-1920

The coordinates are presumed to be accurate but we place no guarantee.  Water depths may be off due to water level changes.  Always evaluate weather conditions and divers abilities before diving any wreck.  We are not recommending any of these dive destinations. We are only publishing information. Caution some wrecks may be out of the sport diving depth limit. Diving is a potentially dangerous activity. Neither Rec & Tec Dive Charters or its contributors accept responsibility for diving related injuries incurred by those who view this site. The materials at this site are for informational purposes only and are not intended to substitute for dive training.  Site conditions change rapidly therefore wreck descriptions should not be relied upon before or during a dive.

Charles A. Street was a steamer that was 165' long.  It was built in Grand Haven, MI in 1888.  The engine some ribs and decking remain.  This is a shallow dive with maximum depth of about 15 feet.   The wreck is located about 11.5 miles north of Port Sanilac.

Charles S. Price was a freighter that was 504' long.  It was built in 1910.  The ship was lost in the storm of 1913. The ship lies upside down but there are holes in the hull that allow penetration.   The wreck is located about 11 miles SE of Lexington Harbor.

Checotah was a scow schooner.  It was built in Toledo, OH in 1870.  The vessel ran into trouble in rough seas while in tow.   It was cut loose and left to sink.  Equipment remains on the bow as well as most of the hull, the stern is broken up and scattered.  The wreck is located about 12.2 miles from Port Sanilac.  Visibility can be very low at times. 

City of Genoa was a steamer that was 301' long.  It was built in West Bay City, MI. This ship was set on fire and sunk in Lake Huron.  The wreck burned to the waterline but the prop, shaft and some machinery is at the wreck site. The site is located about 11.4 miles SE of Lexington Harbor.

Colonel A.B. Williams was a schooner that was 110' long.  It cargo was coal when it went down.  It now lies in 70'-80' of water in decent condition.  The masts and cabin are missing but the rest of the wreck is still interesting.  The wreck is located 12.5 miles NE of Port Sanilac.

Eliza H. Strong was a steamer that was 205' long.  It was built in Marine City, MI in 1874.  During the life of the ship it sunk three times.  After raising and rebuilding it two times they let it rest.  It was dynamited due to it being a navigational hazard.  It lies in an upright position with the keel and some decking intact.  Wreckage is scattered.   It is located less than one mile E of the Lexington dock.

F.B. Gardner was built in 1855 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.  It was built as a 139' brig.  Throughout the years the ship was reconstructed several times.  It was converted from a brig to a bark then to a schooner then it was lengthened to a 177 foot barge.  It sank in a shipping lane so it was dynamited.  There is equipment scattered widely around the wreck site.   It is located 6.5 miles NE of Port Sanilac.

John Breden was a 130' three-masted schooner that was built in Port Dalhousie, Ont. in 1862.  The John Breden is completely broken up over a debris field of 600'.  The ship's wheel, windlass, and anchors lie in this debris field.  The wreck area is located 5.4 miles SE of Lexington Harbor.

City of Milwaukee was built in Cleveland in 1861. She was a schooner built with a distinctive, elegant figurehead, this one in the shape of a ferocious, open mouthed dragon. She sank in the store of 1875. The stern is disintegrated while her bow, with windlass and both anchors, is quite intact.

Mary Alice B was built in Duluth, Minnesota in 1931.  She was a tugboat that was 65' long.  The tug sank after taking on water and now lies on the bottom in very good condition.  Silt kicks up easily inside the wreck.  It is located about 6.2 miles ESE of Port Sanilac.

Canisteo was a wood steamer. She was launched in 1886 at Mount Clemens, MI. She was burned and scuttled on Oct. 25, 1920. The wreckage includes a large, four bladed propeller, hull planking and framing.

New York was a steam barge that was hauling lumber when it went down during heavy seas.  The wreck is upright but a lot of it is broken up.  There is machinery to explore.  The engine which is still there was a twin oscillating steam engine.  The wreck is located 12.3 miles from Port Sanilac.   Visibility can be a problem on this wreck.

North Star was a steamer that was 300' long.  It was built in 1888 in Cleveland, OH.  The ship is in two pieces but lies in an upright position. The pilot house is intact.  The wreck is located about 5.5 miles SE of Port Sanilac and 10 miles NE of Lexington. 

Queen City was a steamer that was 292' long.   It was built in Buffalo, N.Y. in 1848.  The wreck is mostly but not all broken up with equipment and artifacts in the debris field.  It is located about 9.3 miles SE from Lexington Harbor. 

Regina was a steel freighter that was 250' long.  It was built in 1907 in Scotland.  There is a lot of speculation on how the ship sunk but the most recent theory is that the ship ran aground.  There is a very large hole in the hull of the ship.  The Regina rests upside down.  The hole in the hull does provide some access to the inside of the wreck.  The wreck is located about 6.5 miles NE of Lexington and about 7.5 miles SE of Port Sanilac.

Sport was a steel hulled tug that was 57' long.  It was built in 1873 in Wyandotte, MI.  The ship is upright and mostly intact.  Some artifacts from the wreck are on the bottom a few feet from the wreck.   The wreck is located 3 miles East of Lexington.