Posted on March 9th, 2018

The Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society officially announces that its 2018 Annual Dinner and Annual Meeting will be held on Saturday, April 14, 2018, at the Cisler Center of Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan:

5:00 pm – Social Hour
6:00 pm – Dinner
7:00 pm – Annual Meeting of the Membership
7:30 pm – Program


Speaker for the evening’s Program will be the internationally recognized Underwater Explorer Captain Jitka Hanakova, owner of Shipwreck Explorers LLC, and Owner/Captain of the charter boat Molly V, based out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Shipwreck Explorers Company offers recreational and technical scuba diving trips to popular destinations in Lakes Michigan, Huron, and Superior.  Jitka is an avid Great Lakes diver, award winning underwater photographer, and also enjoys free-diving, cave diving, and ocean wreck diving.  She has dived waters ranging from the Great Lakes to caves in Florida and Dominican Republic; and salt water wrecks in the Atlantic Ocean including the wreck of the Andrea Doria. Jitka has been diving since 2000, has been using rebreathers (closed circuit) mixed-gas technology since 2008, and has successfully used this technology to gain access to cold water shipwrecks at depths well over 300ft.  A US Coast Guard Licensed Captain, she has been working and diving aboard Molly V since 2007 and has been Molly’s Owner and Captain since 2008.  Jitka has been active in both terrestrial research and on-water searching for new discoveries for many years. Her first discovery was the steamer M.H. Stuart in 2009, then the historic discovery of the steamship L.R. Doty in the spring of 2010.  This world-class discovery resulted in a National Geographic documentary the “Ghost Ships of the Great Lakes”, which has aired on national television.  Jitka was the keynote speaker at the Ghost Ships Festival in 2011, where she shared her experiences discovering and diving the wreck of the L.R. Doty.  In the spring of 2015, Jitka and her team discovered and dove the long missing steamship Alice E. Wilds off of Milwaukee, completely preserved in over 300ft of water.  Jitka works as a Business Analyst / Systems Consultant for local firms when the lakes are frozen.

Capt. Jitka Hanakova

Jitka will discuss the Discovery of the Steamer Alice E. Wilds:

In 2015 Capt. Jitka Hanakova and her team discovered the last large steamship gone missing by Milwaukee, WI in 1892.  Capt. Jitka will take you through an amazing journey of what it takes to find and dive a missing wreck, from becoming aware of a missing wreck, library research, search planning, mowing the lawn with a sidescan to the final victory of finding and discovering a wreck; and subsequent dives on it.

She has been a longtime friend of the Shipwreck Society and joined in the Society’s recent expedition to the wreck of the A.A. Parker off Munising, Michigan.

Another special guest at the Annual Dinner will be Kwin Morris, representing Stand Up for Great Lakes. This group has a dramatic goal: To cross each Great Lake by stand up paddle board while raising funds/ awareness for this amazing natural resources – to educate, protect and advocate on behalf of the Great Lakes.

Kwin Morris

In 2015 Stand Up for Great Lakes crossed Lake Michigan; last year they did Lake Huron; and this year, in July, they will put their bodies to the test and attempt Lake Superior! And they are doing it to benefit the Great Lakes Shipwreck Society and our mission. This will be quite an exciting adventure! Check out their website and help them out at

Among agenda items for the Annual Meeting will be the election of new members to the Shipwreck Society’s Board of Directors. Those proposed for new membership are:

Jodie Bissonette, Petoskey, Michigan – Vice-President and General Manager of Gaslight Media, Inc., and currently serving as Past-President of the West Michigan Tourist Association. Jodie has been a friend of this organization for a long time and has personally helped to redesign the Society’s web site twice in the past twelve years. She has been active in Society events and has an excellent understanding of tourism in the State of Michigan. Jodie is a contributing member of the Shipwreck Society’s marketing team.

Shelley Koster, Hessel, Michigan – Co-owner of E.J. Mertaugh Boat Works, and Owner of North Coast Company, both in Hessel, she has been active with the Shipwreck Society for a number of years. She has been heavily involved with the Les Cheneaux Island Tourist Association and the Annual Antique Wooden Boat Show. She her husband and Brad, with the staff at Mertaugh, are currently restoring the Society’s 36-foot USCG Motor Lifeboat 36381 for display at Whitefish Point.

Ric Mixter, Saginaw, Michigan – Ric is a published author, video/documentary producer, and recognized shipwreck diver among all of the Great Lakes. He has published numerous shipwreck videos including those about the wrecks of the Carl D. Bradley and Edmund Fitzgerald. He has dived on over 100 shipwrecks and has produced over 30 productions for PBS and the Outdoor Channel. He is the current President of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers’ Association, and has been a keynote speaker for the GLSHS Annual Meeting.

Chris Winters, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin – Chris is a former member of the Shipwreck Society Board of Directors. He is a lifelong student of Great Lakes Maritime History. Currently, he is staff photographer for Discovery World Museum in Milwaukee. Chris is a veteran shipwreck explorer and associate member of the International Shipmasters’ Association; and co-author of the 2015 GLSHS publication, The Legend Lives On. Chris has also published Centennial: Steaming Through the American Century (2008), Ghosts of the Shipwreck Coast, Schooner Days: Wisconsin’s Flagship and the rebirth of Discovery World.

C. Patrick Labadie, Alpena, Michigan – One of the most noted Great Lakes Maritime Historians of our time, Pat Labadie has served as Staff Historian for the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Alpena; and as the Executive Director of the Canal Park Maritime Museum in Duluth, Minnesota. He served as Principal Investigator and Site Projection Artist for the Shipwreck Society’s 2008 project Ghosts of the Shipwreck Coast as funded by the Michigan Department of Transportation. Pat is also very well known for his personal contribution of over 60,000 Great Lakes photographs to the Alpena Public Library, which required a special grant to catalogue, scan, and store them for future generations; this collection bears his name.

Current GLSHS Board Members who are running for a second term are:

Corey Adkins, McBain, Michigan – Corey is Director of Photojournalism for TV 9 and 10 News based in Cadillac, Michigan, a job he has held for many years. Currently, he is Vice-President of the Shipwreck Society. He is an award-winning documentary producer, creating a commemorative Edmund Fitzgerald production in 2015, reflecting the 40th anniversary of the loss. More recently, Corey has been instrumental in connecting the Stand Up for Great Lakes Team with the Shipwreck Society, which ultimately will see this team crossing Lake Superior in 2018. Corey is a current member of the Shipwreck Society’s marketing team, and has been dedicated to GLSHS for a long time.

Dr. David Turner, Grand Rapids, Michigan – David Turner is completing his first term (2016-2018) on the GLSHS board. He has served on the strategic planning committee and is currently the Secretary of the Board. David is a professor at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids and is a published author. He brings a keen interest in and knowledge of Lake Superior history to the board. He and his wife Beverly have been coming to Whitefish Point for 30 years.


Cost of the Annual Dinner is $25 per person. We ask that reservations be made ONLINE or by calling the Society office at 906-635-1742 no later than noon on Tuesday, April 10.

There are three motels in Sault Ste. Marie that have blocked specially discounted rooms for the evening of April 14 at reduced rates. These rooms are first come, first served, and please note the expiration dates for special rates:

PLAZA MOTOR MOTEL – 3901 I-75 Business Spur
Call 906-635-1881 to make reservations, mention “Shipwreck Society Annual Dinner.”

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS – 1171 Riverview Way
Call 906-632-3999 to make reservations, mention “Shipwreck Society Annual Dinner.”
*Note that the special group rate at this motel expires on March 26, 2018.

HAMPTON INN – 3295 I-75 Business Spur
Click on the link to make Reservations.
*Note that the special group rate at this motel expires on April 7, 2018.

Please call the Shipwreck Society Offices in Sault Ste. Marie at 906-635-1742 with any questions.  Thank you and we look forward to seeing you on Saturday, April 14!

Administrative: US Weather Bureau Building 400 W. Portage Avenue, Sault Ste Marie, MI 49783 906-635-1742 Toll Free Phone: 800-635-1742
Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum - Whitefish Point 18335 N. Whitefish Point Road, Paradise, MI 49768 888-492-3747 Contact Us