Scuba Diving in Fred McBrier wreck, Lake Michigan, Michigan USA

Skill Level:
Intermediate to Advanced
89ft /27m - 104ft /31.6m
Diving Season:
May to September
Usually fair
Lake Michigan’s basin is conjoining with that of Lake Huron to the east and having the same surface elevation, they are technically a single lake. The large size of the Lakes and the fact that they are prone to sudden and harsh storms, combined with the rocky shoals and shallows of Straits of Mackinac, increases the risk of water travel and has led hundreds of ships to their end.

The Straits of Mackinac Underwater Preserve lies at the northern tip of Lakes Michigan and Huron and tries to preserve Michigan’s shipwrecks for later generations. Over the years, a large number of ships have submerged in the Straits, many of them have yet to be discovered. One of the shipwrecks that has been found is the wooden steamer Fred McBrier.

Built in W. Bay City of Michigan in 1881, the Fred McBrier was nine years old when she sank in October 1890. Loaded with iron ore, while towing two schooner barges, she was moving cautiously in conditions of poor visibility. The darkness and the misinterpreted fog horn signals, that the Fred McBrier exchanged with the oncoming schooner barge Progress led to their collision.

The 161 ft/49 m long, wooden steamer Fred McBrier is now located upright in 104 ft/32 m depth of water, 9 mi/14.48 km west of the bridge, in Lake Michigan. Moored at her upright engine (which is at 85 ft/26 m), the Fred McBrier is slowly dissolving. Her bow has separated, but her stern is mostly intact. You will be able to see much of her equipment, including the engines and windlass. Penetration is possible.