Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast National Marine Sanctuary

Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast National Marine Sanctuary Commemoration

To commemorate the designation of Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast National Marine Sanctuary, NOAA, the State of Wisconsin, the City of Manitowoc, and partners will host a brief event at Noon Central time on Saturday, Oct. 9, at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. The event will include a formal designation announcement and a proclamation from the state. You can watch the event via Facebook Live at Wisconsin Maritime Museum page. A public celebration is planned for the spring to ensure that the entire community can take part in recognizing the new sanctuary.

In October 2015, in response to a community-based sanctuary nomination, NOAA announced its intent to designate a new national marine sanctuary in Lake Michigan to conserve a collection of nationally-significant shipwrecks. In June 2020, with input from the public, industry stakeholders, and in close consultation with the state of Wisconsin, NOAA published a final environmental impact statement and final management plan for the proposed Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast National Marine Sanctuary. NOAA has now published a final rule designating the sanctuary.

The 962-square-mile Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast National Marine Sanctuary will protect 36 shipwrecks that possess exceptional historic, archaeological, and recreational value. Historical research suggests that nearly 60 shipwrecks are yet to be discovered in the sanctuary.

Co-managed with the state of Wisconsin, the sanctuary will expand on the state's 30-year stewardship of these historic sites, bringing new opportunities for research, resource protection, educational programming, and community engagement. In partnership with local communities, the sanctuary will provide a national stage for promoting heritage tourism and recreation.

Sanctuary Map

map showing Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast National Marine Sanctuary boundry

Boundary: 962 square-miles

Known Shipwrecks: 36

Potential Shipwrecks: 59

For more information contact
Russ Green
Regional Coordinator


NOAA's National Marine Sanctuary System

The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries serves as the trustee for a network of underwater parks encompassing more than 600,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters from Washington state to the Florida Keys, and from Lake Huron to American Samoa. The network includes a system of 15 national marine sanctuaries and Papahānaumokuākea and Rose Atoll marine national monuments.

national marine sanctuary system map