Exploring shipwrecks near the lakeshore could boost business for area museum owners

Published 07/01 2014 05:27PM

Updated 07/01 2014 07:33PM

TWO RIVERS, Wis. (WFRV)-- The fierce waves of Lake Michigan have swallowed more than 6,000 ships—making it one of the deadliest bodies of water in the world.

“When they meet in the incoming swells they can double in height.  Any ship in that area especially back in those days is in very very deep trouble,” Gregory Goodchild, the Director, of the Rogers Street Fishing Village museum in Two Rivers.

Those deep depths of the lake once feared by sailors are now a diver’s paradise.

“These artifacts that sank in the Great Lakes are well preserved more so than anything you would see out in the great oceans.  So divers can go out to ships that have been there since the 1600-1700’s," said Goodchild.

City officials in Sheboygan are pushing to make those unique shipwrecks more accessible to divers. 

The city is working with representatives from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association to designate the 60 mile stretch of Lake Michigan between the Milwaukee area and Two Rivers a national marine sanctuary.

The area between Two Rivers down to Milwaukee is home to 42 shipwrecks and there could even be more that have yet to be discovered.

If that area were chosen, NOAA would place buoys on all known wrecks and conduct dives to discover others.

That’s something local divers and marine enthusiasts would like to see.

That’s still a living museum.  It’s considered a tomb of a ship.  It really is," said Todd Holzman.

Rogers Street Fishing Village is home to thousands of artifacts from at least 7 different shipwrecks. 

Attracting divers to the sites would peak interest in area maritime museums.

John Stabb, an Illinois resident who enjoys to dive, said ”It gives you, I think, a broader picture of what these people had to go through and how these ships did end up on the bottom of the Great Lakes.”

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