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Snorkeling Adventure: Exploring the W.R. Hanna off Kelly's Island in Shallow Waters of Lake Erie


Lake Erie, one of North America's Great Lakes, is home to a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered by snorkeling enthusiasts: the W.R. Hanna shipwreck. Resting in the shallow waters off Kelly's Island, this well-preserved wreck offers a captivating underwater experience for divers and snorkelers alike. Join us as we delve into the fascinating world beneath the waves and uncover the wonders of snorkeling the W.R. Hanna in Lake Erie's serene and shallow depths.

Discovering the W.R. Hanna Shipwreck

The W.R. Hanna, a 186-foot-long steamer, met its fate on November 21, 1902, when it ran aground during a heavy fog. Today, over a century later, it lies partially submerged in the sometimes crystal-clear waters of Lake Erie. Situated just a few hundred yards from Kelly's Island, the shipwreck attracts both history buffs and adventure seekers looking for an immersive underwater experience.

Shallow Water Snorkeling Delight

One of the most appealing aspects of snorkeling the W.R. Hanna shipwreck is its relatively shallow depth. With parts of the wreck resting in water as shallow as 10 to 15 feet, it offers an accessible and exciting adventure for snorkelers of all experience levels. The clear visibility found in peak summer allows you to fully appreciate the shipwreck's intricate details and observe the marine life that has made it their home.

Underwater Exploration

Once you don your snorkeling gear and dip beneath the surface, you'll be transported into a captivating world. The W.R. Hanna shipwreck, covered in a thin layer of sediment, is now an artificial reef teeming with aquatic life. Schools of fish, including bass, perch, and walleye, swim around the wreck, their vibrant colors contrasting against the rusted hull. Snorkelers often encounter freshwater drum and catfish as well, providing an opportunity to observe the lake's diverse ecosystem up close.

Photography and Marine Life Observation

Snorkeling the W.R. Hanna shipwreck also offers an excellent opportunity for underwater photography and marine life observation. As you glide over the wreck's remains, be sure to have your waterproof camera ready to capture stunning images of the ship's structure, encrusted with mussels and covered in colorful algae. You may also spot freshwater sponges, which cling to the wreckage and add a touch of elegance to the scene.

Safety Tips for Snorkeling the W.R. Hanna

While snorkeling the W.R. Hanna shipwreck is a thrilling adventure, it's essential to prioritize safety throughout your underwater exploration. Here are some tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience:

  1. Snorkel with a buddy: Always have a snorkeling partner to watch out for each other and provide assistance if needed.

  2. Check weather conditions: Before heading out, ensure that weather conditions are suitable for snorkeling. Avoid venturing into the water during storms or high winds.

  3. Use proper snorkeling equipment: Invest in quality snorkeling gear, including a well-fitting mask, snorkel, and fins. Familiarize yourself with the equipment and practice using it before heading to the wreck.

  4. Stay aware of your surroundings: Be mindful of the water depth and the wreck's structure to avoid accidental contact. Always keep a safe distance from sharp edges or protruding objects.

  5. Respect the marine environment: Treat the wreck and its surroundings with care. Avoid touching or disturbing marine life and be mindful of the fragile ecosystem.


Snorkeling the W.R. Hanna shipwreck off Kelly's Island in Lake Erie provides a captivating underwater experience for families wanting a fun day on the water. Contact Borden Company LLC to book a charter!

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58 Keepers

We had a plan to mahi fish beyond the reef, 4 foot waves made us head back into the bridge and we picked up 58 yellow jacks, a mutton and some sharks with a nice family of 3.


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