Our Newest Sanctuary: Thunder Bay

Designated in 2000, Thunder Bay is our newest national marine sanctuary. Located in the cold waters of Lake Huron along the shores of Northern Michigan, the sanctuary is adjacent to one of the most treacherous stretches of water within the Great Lakes system. Fire, ice, collisions and storms have claimed over 200 vessels in and around Thunder Bay. In 2014, the sanctuary expanded to 10 times its original size, from 448 square miles to 4,300 square miles. As the Great Lakes only national marine sanctuary, Thunder Bay protects one of the United States’ best-preserved and nationally-significant collections of shipwrecks.

diver swimming over the wreck of the albany

A snorkeler swims above the wreck of the steamer Albany, which lies in only five feet of water. Photo: David J. Ruck/NOAA

mosaic composite image of the norman

A photomosaic shows details of the steel-hulled freighter Norman. Image: Tane Casserley and Joe Hoyt/NOAA

diver photographing the wreck of the nordmeer

The German freighter, Nordmeer, ran aground and sank in 1966 and now lies in 5 - 40 feet of water. Photo: Tane Casserley/NOAA