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Shipwrecks of Lake Michigan

The waters of Door County were once bustling with commercial ships, schooners, and fishing boats as they transported goods around the Great Lakes region. The famously choppy waters of Lake Michigan and Death’s Door strait—combined with inclement weather, fires, and other dangers—sunk many of these vessels over the years. Their wrecks now lay at the bottom of the lake. Some are well known and well mapped, others are lost to the waves and time. Shipwreck hunters and divers come from all over to explore these sunken treasures, and even less underwater-inclined visitors can view the wrecks from the comfort of a boat or kayak.

Boat driving above a shipwreck taken from the air

There are over 275 shipwrecks in the waters of Door County, many in less than 60 feet of water.

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The cold waters of Lake Michigan help to preserve the shipwrecks.

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Shipwrecks can be viewed by snorkeling, scuba diving, clear-bottom kayak tours, and boat rides.

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Zebra mussels, a harmful invasive species, encase many of the wrecks. However, their diet of algae and other water-clouding species means the water is remarkably clear and visibility is greatly improved.

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It's known that many hundreds and even thousands of ships went down in these waters over the centuries and now lurk unexplored beneath the water.

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Plate of whitefish salad on a bed of lettuce.

Smoked Whitefish Salad

Locally caught whitefish combines with fresh herbs and apple for a light and fresh summer salad that will remind you of the lake and its underwater inhabitants.

Underwater Diving

Beneath the waves, in the green-blue waters of Lake Michigan, floating above an ancient wreck.

Scuba diver diving around a shipwreck

Explore the Shipwrecks of Door County

Learn the history and details of some of Door County's best-known shipwrecks.