Scuba Diving in Colonel Ellsworth wreck, Lake Michigan, Michigan USA

Skill Level:
Intermediate to Advanced
70ft /21m - 85ft /26m
Diving Season:
June to September
Lake Michigan is the second largest Great Lake by volume and the only one located entirely in the United States. The lake’s shoreline is more than 1600 mi/2575 km and the average depth is 195 ft/59.4 m. Lake Michigan and Lake Huron have the same surface elevation and are technically a single lake. They are actually connected by the Straits of Mackinac, where many ships have foundered due to heavy storms. The Straits of Mackinac Underwater Preserve, located at the northern edge of Lakes Michigan and Huron, tries to preserve Michigan’s shipwrecks for next generations. One of the shipwrecks found is Colonel Ellsworth.

The Colonel Ellsworth was a 137 ft/41.75 m wooden schooner, built in Euclid, Ohio in 1861. On September 2, 1896 she was caught in a windstorm and collided with the schooner Emily B. Maxwell, while carrying alabaster stone. Her crew was saved by Maxwell, but Colonel Ellsworth sunk at 4 am.

She is located upright, 6 mi/9.56 km east of White Shoals Lighthouse and that’s why she is not often visited. Her stern is damaged, but her bow is in better shape. Much of her hardware, deck fittings and equipment stay untouched. One of her masts lies on the port side lake floor. Divers must  have in mind that risks of entanglement exist in the area, due to the fishing nets. Yet the current is mainly limited and the visibility good.