W.G. Mason

The propeller of a shipwreck
A view of W.G. Mason’s propeller.

Vessel Type: Motor: tug

GPS Location: N45°24.639' W83°44.833'

Depth: 13 feet

Wreck Length: 84 Feet

Beam: 21 Feet

Gross Tonnage: 99

Cargo: Light

Launched: 1898 by Jenks Shipbuilding Company in Port Huron, Michigan

Wrecked: Circa 1924

Mooring Buoy Data

Description: Three well-preserved shipwrecks that tell the story of Rogers City’s limestone industry rest just offshore of the calcite quarry loading docks in clear, shallow water. All three have mooring buoys maintained by Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and divers, paddlers and snorkelers can easily access them.

The Michigan Limestone and Chemical Company (MLCC) purchased the wooden tug W.G. Mason in 1914. W.G. Mason spent 10 years breaking ice and towing sailing vessels in and out of the harbor before it was dismantled and abandoned by the company in 1924. The remains of this workhorse lie in 13 feet of water. Visitors can see its four-bladed propeller and machinery components from the surface.

In 1918, the MLCC purchased another wooden tug to keep up with shipping demands. Duncan City assisted inbound and outbound ships until it was decommissioned and sunk in 1923. The wreck lies several hundred feet away from W.G. Mason, and visitors can explore the preserved tug and see the massive limestone boulders used to sink Duncan City when it was deemed “unfit for service.”

Also nearby is the 167-foot schooner Chester B. Jones, which spent its final days as a barge serving the quarry. Abandoned in 1924, this beautiful shipwreck is a classic example of a Great Lakes centerboard schooner for divers, paddlers, and snorkelers to discover.

Great Lakes Maritime Collection digital archive: http://greatlakeships.org/2902267/data?n=1.

A diver swims along side a shipwreck
A diver swims alongside the remains of the shipwreck W.G. Mason.
a metal piece of a shipwreck with a propeller extending from it
Remains of the tugboat W.G. Mason’s propeller and machinery