The Mary E. McLachlan is a beautiful wreck sitting upright in approximately 40′ (12m) water. This is our most popular recreational wreck dive.
Resting in approximately 40’ (12m) of water the decks are just a little more than15’ (4.6m) below water making this a very accessible dive site. The Starboard Anchor was deployed at the time of sinking and held firm resulting in the Mary McLachlan sinking upright as she remains today. It is evident from the wreckage that the Mary McLachlan went down stern first hitting the bottom with such force that the rudder was driven into the mud forcing the rudder post and steering quadrant to break free and stand independent of the ship
Built by Frank Wheeler & Co., West Bay City, MI in 1893 The Mary E. McLachlan was the largest four (4) masted schooner to sail the great lakes. Unfortunately her launch turned into disaster as the huge wave of the launch hit the steamer KITTIE FORBES, loaded with spectators and drowned as many as 5 and injured many more. At a length of 251′ (76.5m) and a 41’ (12.49m) beam, this four (4) masted schooner had a 1762 gross tonnage capacity and a 16.2’ draft (4.94m).
Very little is known of the service of the Mary E. McLachlan other than that she was frequently towed by the aforementioned Kittie Forbes but usually operated under her own sail power. One interesting story recounts how in early October 1913, when the steamer Lackawanna lost her rudder gear, the engine-less Mary E. McLachlan came to the rescue and, lashed to the bigger boat, steered for them both while the steam of the Lackawanna provided power. A few weeks later, on Oct 20th 1913, she was reported stranded in Black Bay, ONT. There were seven (7) persons on Board but no loss of life. Five (5) months later, on March 24 1914, her US documents were surrendered. In 1916 she was sold and registered in Canada as a 1739 gross ton barge. She served out the rest of her career working out of Port Arthur as a barge.
On the evening of November 7th, 1921 the Mary McLachlan was anchored in Mountain Bay when a strong North Wester came up and swamped the ship. It is unknown how many people were onboard at the time of the sinking but loss of life was reported to be between 14 and 23.