David Trotter has been involved in Great Lakes Shipwrecks……searching, diving, exploring and documenting new discoveries for 35+ years. The solving of “history’s mysteries” has made significant contributions to the history of our Great Lakes and provided new exploration opportunities for sport and technical divers to enjoy.

Dave’s discoveries have been featured on the Discovery Channel, PBS, NBC and in the New York Times, Detroit Free Press, Canadian “DIVER” magazine, Lakeland Boating, “Wreck Diver” and “Immersed” dive magazines. His articles on Great Lakes shipwrecks have been published in historical journals and national scuba diving publications.

He has searched and discovered shipwrecks in all of the Great Lakes (except Lake Ontario). In a unique odyssey, the years of dedicated effort to discover the largest schooner built in Canada (the 250′ Minnedosa) resulted in surveying over 2,000 square miles of Lake Huron. This has been a one-of-a-kind adventure with 80-90 new sites, including airplanes, the steamer Daniel J. Morrell, and the steamer Goliath. The Goliath was designed by John Ericsson in 1846, fifteen years before he designed the ironclad Monitor of Civil War fame.

David believes the Great Lakes are “Our Treasure” to be enjoyed by all who love our “Inland Seas” and our marine history. It is the Shipwreck Hunter discovering and the Diver exploring a shipwreck (in 20′ or 300′ of water) that has given us that unique experience of travelling back in time.  

Our World Underwater (Chicago) honored David’s contribution to diving and Great Lakes maritime history by presenting him with the very special 2010 Our World Underwater Achievement Award.

Dave’s company, Undersea Research Associates, was founded to present the Great Lakes community with an electronically sophisticated means of underwater search and survey for archaeological 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.


New giant steamers, such as the 600′ Daniel J. Morrell, were built and launched in the early 1900’s to ply our inland seas. These ships became the new leviathans of our Great Lakes. Other leviathans of the previous century, such as the 283′ wooden steamer New York, continued to move package freight and commodities during their waning years of service. The New York was the longest steamer built when she was put into service in 1879. 

Tragedy struck in the fall of 1910 when the recently rebuilt New York fought for her life in the violent storm of October 1st. The heroics of Captain Regan and the steamer Mataafa, in saving the New York’s crew of 19, confirmed that men of “True Grit” sailed steel and wooden ships of the 1900’s.

The New York’s loss became a mystery unsolved for 100 years until the URA Explorers ventured into the cold depths of Lake Huron to learn the secrets of the giant ship. Find out how the Undersea Research Associates team confirmed the identity on the very last dive of the year.

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