Ray Grant

Info from Ray Grant

The BADGER STATE was built in 1862 as a passenger/freight steamer, which ran between New York and Wisconsin, along with its sister ship, the EMPIRE STATE. In 1905, it was converted into a floating casino and pleasure palace, when the city of Detroit put the lid on ‘pool halls’, and anchored off Peche Island, in Canadian waters, outside the city’s jurisdiction. The operation was quickly shut down and I am not sure if any gambling actually took place on the ship. 

In 1906, the ship was converted into a lumber hooker. In 1909, it caught on fire while tied up at the dock in Marine City, and was cut loose and allowed to drift downstream until it burned itself out. It ran aground on Harsens Island in the sharp bend of the North Channel opposite Algonac, where it rests today.

This wreck could be shore-dived from Harsens Island, except that there is no place to park.

Before diving into this wreck, first study your charts, and note the wreck’s location so that you do not hit the wreck with your boat. This wreck has been hit many times before, and broken propeller blades, outdrive, and jet ski parts litter the site. Idle up slowly, and keep a sharp lookout. If the viz is good, and the water is not too high, you should be able to see the starboard side of the wreck from the surface. The shallows between the wreck and the shore are a good place to anchor, gear up, walk, and then dive toward the wreck. The BADGER STATE has a sharply-pointed bow, and it is facing East into the current. It is listing to port, with the starboard side almost touching the surface. 

The giant rudder was recovered from the BADGER STATE and put on display at the Harsens Island ferry landing. So be sure and take a trip over to Harsens Island to see it. 

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