This Great Lakes rail car carrier was built in 1910 and used when it was cheaper to ship rail cars across the lake than to roll then around the lake. It originally was 360′ long with a beam of 56′ and was the largest rail ferry on the lake, carrying 30 railcars on it’s 4 tracks. Later in it’s life, it was intentionally sunk as a breakwater for the construction of the Palasades Nuclear Plant. When the construction of Palasades was completed, the AA#5 was refloated but broke in half. The front section of the ship was salvaged on the spot and scrapped. The rear section of the ship was refloated and was being towed to Holland when the pumps could not keep up and the ship went down. The location of the sinking was reported to the Coast Guard and was noted on the nautical charts as “PA” (position approximate). In 2005 Ralph Wilbanks, the team from NUMA with the MSRA spotted the wreckage and charted it at it’s present location.
The wreck sits at approximately a 60 degree down angle with the open mid section buried in the sand at ~165′ with the stern rising up to nearly 90′. .
Although not a beginner wreck and technically outside the boundary of the SWMUP, this is an often visited wreck by local divers. The props make an excellent photo backdrop at ~110′ and there is usually enough ambient light for photography at this depth. The ship is easy to orient on and you can follow the deck down to the sand if you wish. Penetration is possible but not suggested as internal light is minimal and there is NOT an exit point at the shallowest point. Depth ranges from ~165 inside the hull to ~90 at the stern rail.
GPS 42Deg 22.768min / 86Deg 27.437min There is usually a mooring line to the surface with a jug.
Decimal Degrees (WGS84)
Degrees, Minutes & Seconds
N42 22 46 W86 27 26
N 42 22.768 W 86 27.437
16N 544679 4692052