Tallship Denis Sullivan Sails Lake Michigan for Get Into Your Sanctuary Day

By: Leah Izzett, guest author

To raise public awareness for the proposed Wisconsin-Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary, the Denis Sullivan tall ship — a re-creation of a 19th century three-masted Great Lakes schooner — set off on a week-long sail along Lake Michigan. The Denis Sullivan takes you back in time as you climb aboard its decks and connects coastal communities to their local heritage and history.

Photo credit: David J. Ruck/NOAA

The Denis Sullivan made ports of call at each of the communities of Port Washington, Sheboygan, and Manitowoc. In partnership with the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, Discovery World, Wisconsin Sea Grant, Minnesota Sea Grant, and the Center for Great Lakes Literacy, the local communities hosted “Get into Your Sanctuary” events at each of the ship’s stops, bringing nearly 1,000 people out to see the Denis Sullivan and learn about the proposed sanctuary.

Photo credit: Kathleen S. Kline/WI Sea Grant

During the port stops, nearly 800 visitors walked the deck of the Denis Sullivan and had the opportunity to chat with NOAA staff about the proposed Wisconsin-Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary. In Port Washington and Sheboygan, 90 visitors sailed aboard the ship for a sunset cruise. At the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc, families participated in the “Wisconsin’s Underwater Treasures” interpretive gallery tour.

Photo credit: David J. Ruck/NOAA

The week long sail also hosted 12 educators from Wisconsin and Minnesota, who had the opportunity to live aboard the Denis Sullivan, learn the art of sailing, and gain valuable, hands-on experiences to take back to their classrooms in the fall. The educators explored Great Lakes science and maritime heritage as they crossed through the proposed sanctuary. Lessons and activities included lowering and raising plankton nets by the ship’s boom, seining for fish, exploring a shipwreck at Deland Park, nautical knots tying, and measuring water quality and clarity with members of the community outside of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum.

What a truly enriching experience for all!

To learn more about the proposed sanctuary, click here.