Dive Lake Michigan
Are you ready for a trip back in time? Then get ready to embark on one of the greatest adventures of all: shipwreck diving in the Great Lakes. Lake Michigan is home to over 3000 shipwrecks, with many dating back to the 1800s.
Lake Michigan Conditions
Temperatures: The recreational dive season on Lake Michigan starts in May and ends in early November, though it is possible to dive Lake Michigan year round. Temperatures above the thermocline rise to between 60º-70ºF during the summer and early fall. At depth, temperatures can be as high as 68ºF. More commonly, temperatures at depth range from 50º to 60ºF. During the colder months, water temperatures can drop to nearly 32ºF and temperatures below 150 feet are consistently 38º to 40ºF year round. A 7mm wetsuit is generally sufficient protection for most divers in late June through the end of October. During the colder months, a dry suit and redundant air supply are required.
Visibility: Visibility can vary dramatically from day to day. At times visibility can exceed 100 feet, but generally divers will find visibility at about 35 to 40 feet. Following storms, visibility can drop to as little as 5 feet on near-shore dives. As in other places, visibility tends to be better during the colder months or at depths below 80 feet.
Equipment considerations: As noted above, a warm wetsuit or dry suit is necessary on most dives. In addition, divers are cautioned about using a regulator that is not designed to be used in temperatures below 50ºF/10ºC. Free flows can occur on any regulator, but this is a common problem with equipment not designed for the conditions you will find on Lake Michigan. Carrying a redundant air source is recommended.
Special considerations: Currents may be present and conditions can change quite quickly. Boaters should be sure to check with the National Weather Service before going out. Surface conditions can be found on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s (NOAA) and on National Data Buoy Center (NDBC).
Required Training: Aquatic Adventures recommends that anyone diving Lake Michigan hold the PADI Advanced Open Water certification or higher. If you do not hold this certification, consider registering for an upcoming Advanced course. For all Intermediate level dives, proof of Great Lakes diving experience is required for anyone who does not hold an Advanced scuba certification. An Advanced Open Water certification is required and the PADI Deep Diver Specialty certification is recommended for Advanced level dives (proof of experience not accepted).
Please note that under US federal law, it is illegal to remove artifacts from any wreck older than 50 years. If you are going to take anything, take pictures and leave the remaining artifacts for others to see.
Our Favorite Wrecks
See our Lake Michigan Dive Charter Schedule for a list of upcoming dives.