Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast

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NOAA has now published a final rule designating this sanctuary

Extending from Wisconsin’s Port Washington to Two Rivers, this area of Wisconsin-Lake Michigan may become one of our newest national marine sanctuaries. It’s one of two sites – Mallows Bay is the other – the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is currently evaluating for designation based on a community-driven nomination. This is a landmark moment: these are the first new sanctuaries under consideration by the federal government in 15 years. The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation supports the decision to protect Wisconsin-Lake Michigan and you can raise your voice with us.

Lake Michigan is a destination combining significant marine heritage, recreation and exploration opportunities. The site is home to 39 known shipwrecks, with the potential for more to be found. Fifteen of these vessels are preserved almost completely intact due to the Great Lakes’ cold water conditions. Three have standing masts, a rarity among sunken wrecks. Research indicates that the site has over 100 reported vessel losses, indicating that more wrecks lie waiting to be discovered, explored, and protected.

For some, these wrecks are family legends and local lore tied to their ancestry and community in addition to their national historic importance.  These hallowed waters harbor vessels lost to the treacherous waters and weather of the lakes. For others, they serve as popular locations for diving, boating, fishing, recreation, and heritage tourism contributing revenue to the local economy.

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