Paddleboarders float above a shipwreck visible form the surface
Aerial view of paddlers exploring the shallow shipwreck site of the tug Loretta. Image: PhoticZone

Vessel Type: Motor: steam barge

GPS Location: N44°48.903' W83°16.955'

Depth: 7 feet

Wreck Length: 140 feet

Beam: 31 feet

Gross Tonnage: 394

Cargo: Chain

Launched: 1892 by Carpenter Brothers in Sebewaing, Michigan

Wrecked: October 7, 1896

Mooring Buoy Data

Description: According to the Detroit Tribune, the tug Loretta “was always considered an unlucky boat, having been in dry dock every season since coming out.” On the morning of October 7, 1896, Loretta was awaiting repairs at Black River when a fire ignited under its boiler. The fire jumped to a nearby dock, destroying 500,000 feet of lumber, 150,000 shingles, and 219 feet of the dock. The tug was towed into the lake, where it continued to burn until it sank.

Today, the wreck sits in seven feet of water. Divers, snorkelers and paddlers can explore the tug’s stern, which features the propeller shaft and broken machinery. The four-bladed cast-iron propeller is missing its blades. The wooden keelson is encased in iron to protect it during loading and unloading. Charred wood and dropped fasteners are evidence of the fire that sank Loretta.

Great Lakes Maritime Collection digital archive: http://greatlakeships.org/2903674/data?n=1

The propeller of a shipwreck in shallow water
The tug Loretta’s stern lists to port over scoured wooden frames.
Metal and wood scraps from a shipwreck
A scuba diver explores the propulsion machinery at the site of the tug Loretta.
Paddleboarders float above a shipwreck visible form the surface
A kayaker and paddle boarder float over the site of the sunken tug Loretta. Image: PhoticZone