Researchers from NOAA, the state of Michigan, and Ocean Exploration Trust have discovered an intact shipwreck resting hundreds of feet below the surface of Lake Huron. Located within NOAA’s Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the shipwreck has been identified as the sailing ship Ironton. Magnificently preserved by the cold freshwater of the Great Lakes, the 191-foot Ironton rests upright with its three masts still standing. Learn more about the discovery.

Upcoming Events

Archaeology Adventure! (Ages 8-10)

June 25 @ 9:00 am - June 26 @ 12:00 pm

Archaeology Adventure! (Ages 11-13)

June 25 @ 1:00 pm - June 26 @ 4:00 pm

ROV Drop-In

June 26 @ 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm

ROV Drop-In

July 2 @ 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Learn to Snorkel (Ages 13-17)

July 9 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Learn to Snorkel (Ages 8-12)

July 9 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Outside and Unplugged – Session 1

July 10 @ 8:00 am - 4:00 pm

ROV Drop-In

July 11 @ 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm


Whats Happening at Thunder Bay

Freshwater Acidification Monitoring Project Engages Students

By |February 21st, 2023|Categories: Education|

Beginning in spring of 2022, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary (TBNMS) partnered with NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research and Laboratory (GLERL) to establish the basis of a long-term monitoring program to measure Lake Huron water [...]

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Spencer William Cootware

By |August 8th, 2022|Categories: Alpena Shipwreck Tours|Tags: |

Alpena, MI. Our community sadly lost an important member of the Friends of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary on July 25, 2022. With sadness, we announce the unexpected passing of Captain Spencer W. Cootware of [...]

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‘Tis the Giving Season

By |November 23rd, 2021|Categories: Event|Tags: , |

Friends of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary Offers Incentives to “Explore Your Sanctuary, Virtually!” Alpena, Mich. – The Friends of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary (FTBNMS) is in the giving spirit and offering a daily [...]

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Thunder Bay’s Signature Events

Maritime Festival

Maritime Festival


ROV Competition

Film Festival

Film Festival

Summer Programs

“Great experience! Highly recommend it!”

Diana Bergen Thornburg

“What an incredible blessing to this town! Always love this place and the beautiful sincere staff. Thank you!!!”

Tim Hauff

“It was a blast! Captain Spencer and crew were very fun and informative about some of northern Michigan’s history.”

Trevor Hoon
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