Potter’s Barge

A deck barge

N 42° 53.655″, W 086° 22.209″,  200′ deep

Potter's Barge side scan

Potter’s Barge side scan


In 2006, MSRA was notified of a potential target off Port Sheldon, Michigan by local fishermen Ron and Heather Potter. The anomaly was described as being in 200 feet of water and rising at least thirty feet off the bottom.

Anticipating that the object may be an historic shipwreck, the Potter’s were concerned that the discovery be handled properly. After careful consideration, the Potter’s chose to work with MSRA based on the group’s past responsible behavior. Barge with shadow indicating angle.

Ron Potter

Ron Potter

Within days, MSRA affiliated technical divers Jeff Vos and Todd White were dispatched to identify it. They confirmed that it is a flat top work barge or “deck barge”, probably scuttled, perhaps connected with the construction or subsequent repairs or the Consumers Power Company J. J. Campbell plant at Port Sheldon.

Dave Trotter examines the sidescan image with the Potters

Dave Trotter examines the side scan image with the Potters

While not an historic wreck , this barge does present some unique diving opportunities. The barge is thrust into the lake bottom at about a 30 degree angle, similar to the wreck of the car ferry Ann Arbor no.5.

Although the vessel needs to be surveyed in detail, it is about 95 feet long by 34 feet wide. There appear to be no possible entanglements on the site, but caution is always important when diving at this depth. It may be difficult to grapple the wreck, although not impossible. The only real place to hook the wreck is around the edges. This site should prove to be an excellent training site for technical divers.