Indiana – Explore Indiana Shipwrecks via Website or Underwater

Indiana – Explore Indiana Shipwrecks via Website or Underwater – Indiana’s historic shipwrecks can now be explored by land or sea.

Viewing a newly designed website provides virtual looks at what only divers used to be able to access.

The website, www.IndianaShipwrecks.org, which is part of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources website (www.dnr.IN.gov), features the J.D. Marshall and the Muskegon, as well as Car Ferry #2, and Material Service Barge. Each vessel rests under the Indiana waters of Lake Michigan.

Two years ago, the J.D. Marshall became the first underwater preserve site in the state. The preserve is in Porter County, just off the shores of Indiana Dunes State Park.

Data for the website’s four virtual 3-D models of the shipwrecks were gathered using detailed mobile multi-sector sonar scans.

“We hope this information will attract more underwater tourists and get people who don’t dive more interested in Indiana’s fascinating but somewhat unknown maritime history,” said Mike Molnar, manager of the DNR’s Indiana Lake Michigan Coastal Program (LMCP).

The J.D. Marshall sank during a storm on June 11, 1911. Four crew members died. The preserve includes 100 acres surrounding that ship’s ruins and three mooring buoys. The buoys are for dive and fishing boats to use in lieu of anchors, which could damage the historic remains.

Complete information about diving on the shipwrecks, fishing near the site, and the history of the ships is included on the website.

The LMCP and its partners have been working on the preserve project since 2008. The website launch completes the preserve project.

“The State holds underwater archaeological resources in the public trust for current and future generations and has an obligation to properly manage the resources,” Molnar said.

The project required updating information gathered during the 1980s on known and suspected shipwreck sites in Indiana. Molnar said the preserve may be included on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) roster of Marine Protected Areas in the near future.