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The Shipwreck Science Program introduces the concepts, hands-on practice, equipment, and excitement of scientific underwater exploration to school students.  This Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Initiative based program gets underway with twenty to twenty five participants for a three-hour voyage of discovery and adventure. After departing from Dobbins Landing, participants learn about a variety of topics and take turns at the helm of the while on route to shipwrecks located just off of Presque Isle Peninsula.  Maritime educators from BMC and the captain and crew  present information designed to engage and educate the students about various subjects including:


  • Lake Erie Shipwrecks
  • Presque Isle Bay and Peninsula History
  • Gull Point Sand Succession
  • Point Source Pollution
  • Magnetic Compass
  • Principles of Navigation
  • GPS
  • Chart Plotting
  • Underwater Archaeology
  • Rules of the Road
  • Light Houses (we will pass three)
  • Local Shipbuilding
  • Local Commercial Fishing
  • Erie’s Industrial Waterfront
  • Joe Root lore


Young scientists on the helm assisting the captain pilot the research vessel to the shipwreck.

Young scientists on the helm assisting the captain pilot the research vessel to the shipwreck.

BMC’s Side Scan Sonar equipment is deployed as we approach one of the wreck sites near Presque Isle State park, in about 25’ of water.  Several passes are made over the wreck as participants watch the screens and learn how to see and interpret the targets observed.  The floating STEM classroom then anchors over the wreck and the Underwater Remote Operating Vehicle (ROV) is be deployed.  Participants see live video from the ROV operating on the lake bottom and observe, identify, and document the wreck and associated objects detected previously by the Side Scan Sonar.



BMC’s side-scan sonar equipment with a shipwreck on the screen, (left). An underwater ROV with a fish swimming in the debris field (right).



Underwater ROV screen (foreground), side-scan sonar screen (behind).

The historic 1813  gunboat schooner Porcupine, BMC’s new Presque Isle Bay Schoolship, is currently under construction in our boatshop.
One of its many educational missions will be towing BMC’s side-scan sonar equipment in Lake Erie and Presque Isle Bay, searching for and documenting Lake Erie’s numerous shipwrecks.  The Porcupine will sail with students of all ages and can also carry research teams on day sails or overnight excursions.

A Preliminary Drawing of the finished Porcupine

A Preliminary Drawing of the finished Porcupine

Porcupine, the Presque Isle Bay Schoolship.

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