David Trotter is a renowned shipwreck discoverer, deep diver, author, lecturer and photographer. In over 20 years of diving, he has been the first to locate, identify and document 70+ Great Lakes shipwrecks. His shipwreck discoveries and programs have been featured on television and in newspapers throughout the U.S. and Canada. He has written several articles on Great Lakes shipwrecks that have been published in historical journals and national scuba diving publications.
Through Undersea Research Associates, founded to present the Great Lakes community with an electronically sophisticated means of underwater search and survey for archeological and commercial purposes, he presents visual underwater time capsules of marine history. Utilizing state-of-the-art side scan sonar, with outstanding skilled operators, the organization offers high resolution bottom profiling at depths to 1,000 feet, underwater site survey and underwater photographic documentation.
Dateline…..November 21, 1934, 3:27 a.m., off Thunder Bay (near Alpena, Michigan) in Lake Huron. The Steamer W. C. Franz wireless operator: “Collision!!! Calling all vessels!! Crew taking to the lifeboats!”
Four crewmen perish as the Franz sinks.
Upbound and light, the 350′ Steamer Franz completed her final voyage in the early hours of that fateful day. The Steamer Loomis, downbound with packaged freight, struck deeply into the port side of the W. C. Franz. Brief radio messages from the Canadian vessel W. C. Franz tell of the mishap and quick orders to take to the lifeboats. The lifeboats of the Franz were not in good repair and the crew jumped into dangerously cold waters. The Steamer Loomis lowered lifeboats and picked up survivors from frigid Lake Huron.
In a very unusual turn of events, the Steamer W. C. Franz has been discovered sitting upright on the floor of Lake Huron, remarkably well preserved. Both masts and the smokestack funnel are upright and intact. The Franz’s bell still adorns the forward mast and the large wooden wheel in the pilothouse remains in place. The compass is still contained inside the binnacle, which is still secured in front of the pilothouse wheel, just as she was when in use during her 30+ years of service.
This program will tell the story of the Franz’s history, discovery, exploration, and will solve the mysteries regarding her loss.