W.P. Rend

a diver swims above the bow of a shipwreck while light filters diwn from the surface
A diver contemplates the remains of William P. Rend. Photo: Jennifer Idol

Vessel Type: Motor: wooden bulk freight barge

GPS Location: N45° 03.742’ W83° 23.555’

Depth: 17 feet

Wreck Length: 287 Feet

Beam: 40 Feet

Gross Tonnage: 2323

Cargo: Stone

Launched: 1888 by James Davidson at West Bay City, Michigan

Wrecked: September 22, 1917

Mooring Buoy Data

Description: Just 1.5 miles north of the Thunder Bay River mouth rests the nearly intact remains of a huge barge, William P. Rend. Built in 1888, William P. Rend was among the largest wooden freighters on the Great Lakes. It worked for decades hauling bulk cargo such as coal, iron, and limestone.

On September 22, 1917, William P. Rend made its last run. Loaded with crushed limestone, the behemoth sprang a leak and quickly sank in 17 feet of water. No lives were lost, but attempts to refloat the barge failed and it was abandoned. Stretching the length of a football field, William P. Rend invites divers, snorkelers, and paddlers to explore a marvel of naval engineering. Its heavily built wooden sides nearly reach the lake surface, and iron bands that reinforce the massive hull crisscross the wreck. Near the stern, a boiler is toppled over on its side with other machinery. Willliam P. Rend's cargo, still within its massive holds, can be seen from the surface.

Great Lakes Maritime Collection digital archive: http://greatlakeships.org/2907522/data?n=1

a diver floats above a shipwreck in the distance with debris from the wreck in the foreground
A diver inspects the remains of William P. Rend. Photo: Jennifer Idol
a scan of a shipwreck, the wreck appears in green against a blue background
Multibeam sonar image of William P. Rend
sonar scan of a shipwreck
Sonar image of the remains of William P. Rend