The Wreck of the Dorcas Pendell – Harbor Beach, Michigan - Atlas Obscura

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The Wreck of the Dorcas Pendell

Harbor Beach, Michigan

An easy-to-reach, century-old shipwreck in shallow and crystal clear waters.  


The wreck of the Dorcas Pendell is a rare treat— a shipwreck in crystal clear shallow water. No need for scuba gear, a quick kayak trip in a sheltered bay and visitors can almost touch the wreckage. 

Constructed in 1884, the Dorcas Pendell was a 149 foot long, two-masted schooner that plied the Great Lakes for years until it was grounded during the Big Storm of 1913. Eventually, the ship caught fire and burned to the waterline.

The wreck is an easy 20-30 minute kayak trip to a location just over 2,000 feet from the shore. The location is easily marked with a bright red buoy. The wreckage is surprisingly large and the water is about five feet deep. Photos capture only a small portion of the ship.

Harbor Beach is the largest human-made freshwater harbor in the world and contains two other shipwrecks. The bay also possesses an abandoned Coast Guard station and a lighthouse.

Know Before You Go

Kayak rentals are available but it is best to call in advance.

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