Great Lakes Shipwreck Festival Sets Sail for 37th Year


The enthusiasm and fervor of shipwreck aficionados and history buffs has joined together for nearly 40 years, through the Great Lakes Shipwreck Festival (GLSF): a celebration of exciting dive adventures and rich maritime history. Through a series of guest presentations highlighted by luminaries in their fields, exhibits showcasing underwater imagery, social activities, and other memorable events, the festival aims to instill visitors with a sense of wonder, and prep scuba explorers for the upcoming Great Lakes diving season.

By John Tapley

Morris Lawrence Building at the Washtenaw Community College

The 37thannual GLSF is scheduled to take place between on Saturday, March 3 at the Morris Lawrence Building of Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Michigan. After the doors open at 9 a.m., guests will have opportunities to mingle and talk shop with representatives from dive equipment vendors and manufacturers, dive-related services, and dive destinations. Informative exhibitions will include demonstrations of new equipment and configurations, hands-on scuba diving and photography workshops, and expert historians who will marvel audiences with daring tales that made the Great Lakes a hotbed for wreck diving. Aqua artists and photographers will illuminate the imagination and interpretation of the waters and their scaly denizens with a series of evocative imagery.

Center to the day’s festivities will be a series of guest presentations by some of the maritime world’s most respected individuals.

Guests will learn about Lake Huron’s infamous ghost vessel, the Clifton, through “Ghost of Lake Huron: Discovery of The Last Whaleback: The Steamer Clifton” by acclaimed wreck diver David Trotter – Trotter will cover the history of the forlorn vessel, and the depths and details it took to find it. “Lost Legends of the Lakes”, presented by artist historian Robert McGreevy, will highlight the artist’s work covering 15 different shipwrecks throughout the Great Lakes: “from the earliest side wheelers to the largest modern freighters.”

Diving duo and renowned videographers Jim and Pat Stayer will return to the GLSF once again and present two separate sessions: “Octopus & Cuttlefish – How Smart are They?” will cover colorful and crafty cephalopods from around the world, highlighting their unique dispositions with commentary from cephalopod leading expert Dr. Roger Hanlon; “60thAnniversary of the Sinking of the Bradley” will describe the sinking of the massive vessel Carl D. Bradleywith guests Frank Mays and Coast Guard Captain Harold Muth, who respectively survived, and searched for survivors.

With these, and many more presenters, this year’s GLSF continues the same dedication and excitement of shipwreck diving, maritime history, and the critters that make up the big blue world. For more information on the 37thannual GLSF, and to order tickets in advance, visit