The Shipwreck Sweepstakes
The Disaster - On August 23, 1885, the Sweepstakes hit a rock near Cove Island and sank in shallow water close to the light station. She remained there until September 3rd when she was towed into Big Tub Harbor by the tug Jessie. It was found that the Sweepstakes was beyond repair, so she was stripped of all useful rigging and equipment before she sank in her present location. Her cargo of coal was salvaged at a later date.
The Wreck Today - The nearly intact hull of the Sweepstakes is in six meters of water, some 45 meters from the head of Big Tub Harbor. Two mooring buoys are located just east of the wreck. Although deteriorating a little more each year, the Sweepstakes is one of the best preserved nineteenth-century Great Lakes schooners to be found.
Both wrecks are visited frequently by glass-bottom tour boats. During the spring and fall, the site is shared by both divers and boats. Caution and co-operation are necessary from both groups to make each visit safe and interesting. During the summer season, from the last Friday in June to the end of Labor Day weekend, the following schedule is in effect. Diving is permitted daily from 4:00 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. and on Sunday mornings from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. The glass bottom tour boats will not enter the restricted zone during these times. Tour boats or any other vessel with valid permits may enter the restricted area from Monday to Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and on Sundays from 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m. No diving will be permitted during these periods.