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World | USA / Canada | Diving Great Lakes:

Great Lakes overview


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Great Lakes, USA / Canada dive site map

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Scuba Diving Great Lakes, USA / Canada

Water temperature:

10C (50F) to 24C (75F) depending on depth and month of the year


Dry or semi-dry suit recommended although many people dive in two-piece farmer john 5-7mm suits


5 - 20 metres (15 - 65 feet). Weather (particularly wind) and site dependent

Type of diving:


Marine life:

Large and small mouth bass, sunfish and invasive gobies and zebra mussels abound

When to go:

The season runs from late April to October with the best diving in July and August when the wind is more predictable and the water temps are warmest.

How to get there:

Fly to Detroit (DTW) and then hire a car - around a two-hour drive.

Newspaper article from the Great Storm, Great Lakes

The Great Lakes region encompasses numerous lakes and rivers as well as the five Lakes themselves: Superior, Huron, Michigan, Erie and Ontario (in descending order by surface area, which when combined cover roughly the same area as the UK). Together they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth. Their connection to the Atlantic Ocean via the St Lawrence River has facilitated the transportation of people and bulk cargo (particularly iron ore for use in the steel industry), since the US started expanding west.

As well as moderating the seasonal temperatures in the region (known locally as 'The Lake Effect'), these vast bodies of water are also responsible for frequent blankets of fog and sudden storms, the worst on record being the Great Storm (often referred to in literature as the "Freshwater Fury" or "Big Blow") of 1913, during which 19 ships were stranded and another 19 were lost altogether. For boat captains in years gone by, these waterways were amongst the most dangerous in the world and this is reflected in the thousands of wrecks that litter the bottom.

In 1980 the Michigan Underwater Preserves Council was established to steward eleven designated bottomland areas around Michigan's coastline to be protected for the enjoyment of sport divers. A twelfth underwater preserve has been established independently in Grand Traverse Bay more recently. The Fathom Five National Marine Park in Ontario, Canada serves a similar purpose. Diving in these areas is frequently touted as being the best freshwater wreck diving in the world.

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