Scuba Diving

Compressed-air scuba diving was fundamental to the early Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society. In a single day in the summer of 1972, divers found four historic, previously undiscovered shipwrecks in the immediate vicinity of Whitefish Point. Over time these and many other historic wrecks in the vicinity have proved immensely popular with the sport diving community.

Early Shipwreck Society divers quickly learned how to deal with the effects of extreme deep diving on compressed air. Most common were nitrogen narcosis and frequent bouts with decompression sickness – but the lure of deep, virgin shipwrecks, preserved so well by the cold waters of Lake Superior, made such adventure worth the risk.

By 1978 enough shipwrecks had been discovered to justify formal non-profit incorporation of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society, with its primary goal to preserve historic shipwrecks and share the excitement of discovery with the public.

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Technical Dive Team Member Terry Begnoche shown using rebreather on the wreck of the Myron off Whitefish Point

Technical diving – involving the use of mixed gases to prevent nitrogen narcosis – came about in the late 1980’s. Gradually, the Shipwreck Society Dive Team adopted the use of mixed gases and rebreathers, to add an element of safety to expeditions as well as to keep the diver’s mind clear of narcosis while diving on wrecks averaging a depth of 240 feet.

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Technical Dive Team Members Steve Ouellete and Rick Heineman prepare to board the R.V. David Boyd after decompression

As time progressed, the Shipwreck Society went to a full technical diving team, all dedicated volunteers, who use the latest in technical diving equipment.

Yet there still remains a large number of fascinating shipwrecks available for compressed air novice diving less than 100 feet deep. While the Shipwreck Society does not offer a diving concession at Whitefish Point, Society staff can refer interested divers to concession operators. Simply call our administrative office telephone number at 800-635-1742.