Superintendent’s Statement, September 1, 2017
NOAA is excited to announce the discovery of two historic shipwrecks in Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Resting in deep water, the shipwrecks are located in Lake Huron off Presque Isle, Michigan. Sanctuary archaeologists identified the two shipwrecks as the wooden steamer Ohio (1873-1894)and steel-hulled steamer Choctaw (1892-1915).
In May 2017, a sanctuary-led expedition used high resolution sonars to map the bottom of Lake Huron, during which they located the lost ships. At the time, the researchers were confident they had discovered the 202-foot Ohio and the 266-foot Choctaw. The team recently confirmed the sites’ identities using underwater robots to collect photos and video of the shipwrecks.
Archaeologists are planning future expeditions to better understand, manage, and interpret Ohio and Choctaw. The sanctuary plans to develop public interpretation using video, photographs, archaeological maps, exhibits, and digital models of the shipwrecks to better enable divers and non-divers to access and explore these historic treasures. Preserved by Lake Huron’s cold, freshwater, the shipwrecks will be nominated for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
For more information about Ohio and Choctaw (including video and images) and more details about the expedition, please visit our web story, History Meets Technology*.
Funded by a grant from NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, the project was made possible through research partnerships with NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, University of Delaware, Michigan Technological University, Northwest Michigan College, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
The 4,300 square-mile Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary protects the Great Lakes and their rich history. Lake Huron’s cold, fresh water preserves nearly 200 historic shipwrecks in and around the sanctuary. Through research, education, and community involvement, the sanctuary and its partners ensure that future generations can enjoy Thunder Bay’s irreplaceable underwater treasures.
--Jeff Gray, Superintendent, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
For questions about the discoveries and media-quality images and video, please contact Sanctuary Media Coordinator Stephanie Gandulla at firstname.lastname@example.org or 989-884-6212.