Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary protects a nationally significant collection of nearly 100 historic shipwrecks in Lake Huron off the Michigan coast. Through research, education, and community involvement, the sanctuary works to ensure future generations can enjoy these underwater treasures.
Every year Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary brings the world of cinema to Alpena! In January, northeast Michigan is treated to some of the most impressive ocean and Great Lakes films from around the world. Film screenings are complemented by social events, educational activities, and opportunities to meet filmmakers.
Researchers from NOAA, the state of Michigan, and Ocean Exploration Trust have discovered an intact shipwreck resting hundreds of feet below the surface of Lake Huron. Located within NOAA's Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the shipwreck has been identified as the sailing ship Ironton. Magnificently preserved by the cold freshwater of the Great Lakes, the 191-foot Ironton rests upright with its three masts still standing. Learn more about the discovery.
The shipwrecks of Thunder Bay constitute a microcosm of the Great Lakes commercial shipping industry spanning the last two hundred years. The collection reflects transitions in ship architecture and construction, from wooden schooners to early steel-hulled steamers, as well as several unusual vessel types.
The Friends of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary is a non-profit organization whose mission is dedicated to protecting the Great Lakes and preserving their rich maritime history.
National marine sanctuaries protect more than just aquatic life. Places like Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, located in Lake Huron, safeguard our nation's maritime history. Join your dive buddies on a visit to D.M. Wilson, one of the hundreds of shipwrecks protected in Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
Immerse yourself in the ocean and your national marine sanctuaries without getting wet!
The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries serves as the trustee for a network of underwater parks encompassing more than 600,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters from Washington state to the Florida Keys, and from Lake Huron to American Samoa. The network includes a system of 15 national marine sanctuaries and Papahānaumokuākea and Rose Atoll marine national monuments.