Ken Merryman is past president and founding member of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Preservation Society.  He is a retired computer engineer and a veteran speaker at scuba shows around the Great Lakes.  Ken has been an avid Great Lakes shipwreck hunter and diver for 50 plus years and operated a scuba diving charter service for 40 years. Although his charter business operated mostly at Isle Royale National Park, he also frequents all of the Great Lakes diving and searching for new shipwrecks with his shipwreck hunting partner of thirty years Jerry Eliason. Their shipwreck hunting partnership is responsible for the discovery of thirty shipwrecks and the initial exploration and documentation of a half dozen more including the discovery of the deepest shipwreck found in the Great Lakes the Scotiadoc at 870 ft deep.  In efforts to preserve these discoveries through the GLSPS and often in cooperation with Wisconsin Historical Society he has helped add eight shipwrecks to the National Register of Historic Places.  In cooperation with the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport they have done the initial documentation to list five of the discoveries as archaeological sites. Now their initial documentation includes photogrammetry models and Ken is leading a massive GLSPS project to create a database of photogrammetry models of all Great Lakes Shipwrecks crowd sourced through the diving community.  The last seven summers Ken and friends have been circum-navigating the Great Lakes in his 1947 Owens Cruiser.  He has cruised over 17,000 miles covering most of all five of the lakes finding ten new shipwrecks and creating over a hundred shipwreck photogrammetry models along the way.

The Great Lakes Best Sidewheelers

There are a few hundred sidewheel steamer losses in the Great Lakes. Since most were built in the mid-1800’s and many caught fire or wrecked on the shores or shallow waters of the lakes, for the majority, all that remains are disarticulated pieces and buried parts of shipwrecks. There are, however, three of these amazing machines that sit upright with engines and sidewheels still intact. Join Ken Merryman as he takes you on a tour of these amazing sidewheelers using video, photogrammetry models and animations to tell their stories, show what remains and how the propulsion systems of these giant machines operated.

Recommended Articles