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Learn More About Diving The New Orleans

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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
New Orleans Shipwreck
Bob and the Burbot. Photo Credit: Becky Kagan Schott
New Orleans Shipwreck
Photo Credit: Becky Kagan Schott

Vessel Type: Motor: wooden side wheel steamboat

GPS Location: N45° 02.579’ W83° 14.425’

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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.

New Orleans Shipwreck
Photo Credit: Becky Kagan Schott
New Orleans Shipwreck
Photo Credit: Becky Kagan Schott

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.

New Orleans Shipwreck
Photo Credit: Becky Kagan Schott

Thanks to Becky Kagan Schott for the photographs and write-up.

Follow Becky’s Dive Adventures on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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About Author

Kathy is the owner of Kirk Scuba Gear, a passionate Scuba Diver, Ocean Advocate and Managing Editor of The Scuba News Canada

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