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Final Voyage


As most Wisconsin divers can attest,
a single factor lies at the heart of the state's extraordinary shipwreck diving: unparalleled preservation. The Great Lakes ' cold, fresh water continues to keep many historic shipwrecks and related artifacts virtually frozen in time. There are shipwreck sites for every level of scuba diver as well as snorkelers and kayakers. Mother Nature will, of course, inevitably claim Wisconsin 's historic shipwrecks, but considering the exceptional preservation of many sites well over 125 years old, the process is arguably slow. The larger threat, and the only one completely within our control, is human impact. Beyond state and federal laws protecting shipwrecks from looting, there are several efforts underway in Wisconsin to foster shipwreck preservation and encourage responsible diving on these non-renewable cultural resources.

The Wisconsin Historical Society (WHS) and the UW Sea Grant Institute are dedicated to preserving historic shipwrecks and facilitating responsible diver access to these unique, non-renewable cultural resources. Divers who visit these historically significant and often fragile sites must take care to ensure that future generations of recreational divers, the general public, marine enthusiasts, historians and archaeologists have an opportunity to enjoy and learn from them. With our help, the cold, fresh water of the Great Lakes will continue to preserve many of Wisconsin 's historically significant shipwrecks for generations to come.

The WHS has installed permanent moorings on 16 historic shipwrecks in Lakes Superior and Michigan . The moorings facilitate recreational access to the site, provide a safe point of descent for divers, and eliminate anchor damage to the wreck from boats that anchor at the site. The WHS and the UW Sea Grant Institute have also produced three sets of dive guides to 18 popular shipwrecks around the state. The sturdy, waterproof slates include site maps and short histories of the vessels, allowing divers to take self-guided tours of the wrecks.


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