Isle Royale Diving

George M. Cox Boilers 


Algoma Artifact Field 


America Engine Room  


Chester A. Congdon Pilot House

Emperor Engine Room

The waters of Isle Royale offer some of the best wreck diving in the world.  Isle Royale National Park is a wilderness island located 20 miles from the Minnesota shore of Lake Superior.  Beautiful but treacherous islands and shoals surround this 50 mile long island.  These shoals have claimed about a dozen large ships.  You can dive nine major wrecks of different types on your trip.  The historic wooden wrecks have been surveyed by professional archeologists.  Their diagrams and reports will help you interpret these less intact wrecks.  You can explore the rooms and machinery spaces of the more intact steel wrecks.  Portholes, bottles, wrenches, lights, and lanterns are just some of the examples of artifacts which still remain for you to see, enjoy, photograph, and leave behind.  If you choose, you may sacrifice a dive for some island hiking or exploring.

On recreational trips the diving depths range from 20 feet to 140 feet and all dives must be no decompression.  On specially arranged tech trips the depths range from 100 feet to 260 feet.  The water temperature around Isle Royale ranges from 39 to 60 degrees and in places will certainly be less than 45 degrees.  Be prepared.  A good wetsuit, or better yet, a dry suit is recommended.  The visibility ranges from 70 feet to 20 feet but generally averages 40 feet.  Normally, the water is colder early in the season when the visibility is best 40 to 70 feet.  As the season approaches the first of September the water is warmer but the visibility is less usually ranging from 20 feet to 40 feet.

Three of the wrecks have multiple decks and rooms for penetration dives and we typically do at least one night dive so a dive light is required.

Isle Royale diving is not for novices.  Managing the additional cold water gear and dealing with the deeper depths and an overhead environment makes this challenging diving.  Minimum recommended experience is 50 open water dives with experience in shipwreck,  deep, and cold water diving.