A shipwreck broken in half allowing view into the hull
A scuba diver hovers over the break in the hull of the freighter Florida.

Vessel Type: Motor: package freighter

GPS Location: N45° 17.781’ W83° 17.011’

Depth: 206 feet

Wreck Length: 270 feet

Beam: 40 feet

Gross Tonnage: 2103

Cargo: Package freight; wheat

Built: 1889 by Robert Mills at Buffalo, New York

Wrecked: May 21, 1897

Mooring Buoy Data

Description: The steamer Florida, a large package freighter, carried anything shipped in boxes, barrels, or bags, in addition to regular bulk cargo, such as corn and coal. Though powered by a large steam engine, Florida was built at a time when steamships still carried sails and was fully rigged with three masts.

On May 20, 1897, while traveling in a dense fog off Presque Isle, Florida collided with George Roby. The impact cut Florida nearly in half. The steamer sank so quickly that its stern was crushed when it hit the bottom. Air trapped in the bow blew the pilot house clear off the ship, and debris floated on the lake’s surface for days. Fortunately, George Roby rescued Florida’s entire crew.

Sitting in 206 feet of water and almost completely intact, Florida is an incredible dive site. The impacts of the collision and sinking are visible, and the obliterated stern allows divers to explore a cross-section of the wreck. All three masts still lie along the sunken freighter’s deck.

Great Lakes Maritime Collection digital archive: http://greatlakeships.org/2896540/data?n=1

Florida planview b
Florida planview.
A side view of a sanctuary
Photomosaic of the sunken freighter Florida.
Divers examine the upright and intact bow of the freighter Florida
Divers examine the upright and intact bow of the freighter Florida.