“The New Orleans was a 231 foot-long bulk freighter that was built in 1885 in Marine City, Michigan. It sank while carrying coal in a collision just over 117 years ago. Today it rests upright and is a great wreck to visit. I found the winch on the bow very interesting. I also got a fun shot of Bob and the burbot as Bob swam by the winch. There’s a big break in the middle of the ship and the stern has a great boiler on it plus coal scattered about. The bow had a lot of relief and was pretty impressive. Another fun day of diving and a “new to us” wreck.“
Becky Kagan Schott
Vessel Type: Motor: wooden side wheel steamboat
GPS Location: N45° 02.579’ W83° 14.425’
Depth: 15 feet
Wreck Length: 130 feet
Beam: 27 feet
Gross Tonnage: 610
Cargo: Passengers and freight
Launched: 1838 by B.F. Goodsell at Detroit, Michigan
Wrecked: June 14, 1849
The Great Lakes were dominated by sidewheel steamboats at the start of the “shipwreck century.” Before railroads, these fast ships were the most efficient mode of transportation. On these steamers, tens of thousands of immigrants, ambitious entrepreneurs, and adventure-seeking tourists first explored the Midwest.
On the foggy morning of June 13, 1849, before daylight, New Orleans grounded on a reef between North Point and Sugar Island. All of the passengers and crew were rescued by local fishermen.
Today, the cold, fresh water of Lake Huron has preserved large sections of the hull. New Orleans’ shallow 15-foot depth and crystal-clear water make it an ideal destination for paddlers, snorkelers, and divers.
Thanks to Becky Kagan Schott for the photographs and write-up.