MANITOWOC, Wis. (WFRV)-Governor Tony Evers and Senator Tammy Baldwin spent Saturday afternoon out on the water in Manitowoc, learning about Lake Michigan shipwrecks. 

They are celebrating the designation of Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast into a National Marine Sanctuary.

Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast has 36 known shipwrecks. There are 59 potential shipwrecks which are shipwrecks researches know about through historical documents, but haven’t located remains from quite yet.

Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast is a 962-square mile area of Lake Michigan that extends from Port Washington to southern Keewaunee County. There are 15 National Marine Sanctuaries in the United States.

“One of the things I was most excited about when I became Governor was to do this (help make Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast a National Marine Sanctuary),” says Wisconsin governor Tony Evers.

Since 2015, local, state, and national groups have worked together to make this a reality after local communities submitted an application for the designation at the end of 2014. This summer, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration providing the final sign off to make this official.

“We’re adding recreational and educational opportunities for families to enjoy,” says Evers.

“(We now have) a national stage to tell the story of Wisconsin’s maritime history and heritage,” says U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin.

After the ceremony, everybody going out on the water hopping on a boat to look at some of the shipwrecks. On Saturday afternoon, the water was a bit too murky to actually see any of the shipwrecks, but boats still bringing the group above where the shipwrecks lay at the bottom of the water. Guides gave the group a history lesson on each shipwreck.

“Wisconsin is really connected to the water and these shipwrecks represent that and it’s an important national story,” says Russ Green who is the Great Lakes Regional Coordinator for NOAA.