Walter Lewis

Walter Lewis took up diving in 1990 specifically to dive on the wreck of the CORNWALL. At Shipwrecks ‘95, he did a presentation on the wreck, which was subsequently the subject of The River Palace, co-authored with Rick Neilson and published by Dundurn Press in 2008.

In the following year, he and Rick were awarded the S.O.S. Marine Heritage Award. In 2011 Walter was named Great Lakes Historian of the Year, an award presented by the Marine Historical Society of Detroit. He is known to many in the Great Lakes community for the website he manages, which presents the raw materials of history, gathered through the work of many researchers, particularly those interested in shipwrecks.

He has spoken to a wide variety of people, including passengers on a Great Lakes cruise ship while at sea, an audience far less interested in wrecks than those attending Shipwrecks 2017. Walter’s web site is

Down to the Sea in Boats:  Great Lakes boats that went to salt water during WWI

While hundreds of vessels were built in Great Lakes shipyards for service during World War I, this presentation will feature a range of vessels that were already active on the Great Lakes in 1914 that went to sea. 

Some had been delivered from British yards but most were designed for service on the Lakes.  Some were extensively rebuilt; most were not.  Some came home. Some didn’t.  Some survived only to be lost in World War II (serving on both sides)!  Some are Great Lakes dive sites; others are for your vacation bucket list. 

While the steel canallers left early, a number of lakers had to be split in two to get through the locks. Which meant a couple were “half” lost.  One even had to be rotated sideways to fit the Welland Canal. All have stories worth telling.

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