Lake Michigan is known to contain several shipwrecks, but the current time of year may make it especially easy for divers and salvage operations to find lost vessels. On April 19, the United States Coast Guard Air Station of Traverse City, Michigan, posted photos to Facebook taken by its overhead crew on what it called "Shipwreck Sunday." Warming temperatures have made the water of the lake so clear that wrecks can be easily seen from above.
In these photos, the Coast Guard identified two wrecked ships from different eras, including the James McBride, a cargo ship sunk in 1857, and the Rising Sun, a steamer from 1917 that "went to pieces" near Pyramid Point.
Both of these wrecks are in a relatively shallow area of water, submerged under fewer than 20 feet, and in some cases specific pieces of the crafts can be clearly seen. Some of the ships were not labeled, and the agency is asking viewers to submit information. The official website of the Manitou Passage Underwater Preserve lists some of the other shipwreck dive sites in the same area, including the 1922 freighter Francisco Morazan and the 1867 steamer Congress.
"With Lake Michigan ice gone for the season the crystal clear, deep blue waters of northern Michigan are back (albeit still VERY VERY cold at an average of 38 degrees)," the USCG said in their captions of the posts. Smithsonian Magazine says that the water of the lake is likely to become cloudier this summer as algae blooms.
While several wrecks in the area are known, favorable conditions could encourage operations to take another look and learn more while they can. However, even when waters are clear, operators should include proper diving insurance for all workers, as well as coverage for vessels and equipment as well.