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Great Lakes Shipwreck Preservation Society
Dedicated to Saving our Shipwrecks "From Prevention to Preservation"
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GLSPS Annual Fundraiser!!
2019 UMSAT Show

New Date for 2019 UMSAT Show!!

April 12 - 13, 2019

Friday 7:00 to 10:00 PM
Saturday, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
(Including After Party with food and Beverages)

New Location for 2019!

Jimmy's Event Center Vadnais Heights MN
For more information on the 2018 UMSAT show, and the upcoming 2019 UMSAT Show, please visit

If you are interested in joining the UMSAT Show Planning Committee, please email us at or contact Ken Merryman at or Phil Kerber at

We are always looking for speakers that would like to present a great topic about their scuba diving or adventure travel experiences.

Please let us know if you, or anyone you know, would like to be a star and speak at a future UMSAT Show!

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GLSPS Project Sponsors

Air Down There Scuba offers free air fills and special pricing on rental equipment while participating in GLSPS projects. Thank you, Scott and Tracy!

Aquaventure Dive and Photo Center offers free air fills and special pricing on rental equipment while participating in GLSPS projects. They have also loaned us a GoPro HD video camera for a few projects. Thank you, Steve and Jolene!

Videos produced by Steve at Aquaventure Dive and Photo Center filmed in Lake Michigan on a Milwaukee charter trip. Click on their above logo for information to join them on a charter to visit these shipwrecks.
Prins Willem
The Dredge 906

Jay Hanson from North Shore Scenic Cruises has helped the GLSPS on many projects. Jay has many years of experience as a Captain, dive shop owner, dive instructor and commercial diver.

Jay has taken a different path for the past few years and his scuba charters are no longer available. However, in 2012, Jay purchased the Wenonah which was previously used to transport people from Grand Portage, MN to Isle Royale, MI. He now offers day cruises on the North Shore of Lake Superior and is docked at the Silver Bay, MN Marina.

If you are interested in booking a 2 hour - day charter cruise on the North Shore of Lake Superior, please click on the logo above for information on joining him and his staff on a north shore day cruise.

Home2011 Wilson Monitoring Project

Wilson Zebra Mussel Monitoring and Survey Project
September 17 & 18, 2011

Tim Pranke Smashing Zebra Mussels one at a time
(Photo by Phil Kerber)

Wilson Forward Turret
(photo by Ken Merryman)

Wilson Bow
(Photo By Ken Merryman)

Wilson Project Tools to Measure Zebra Mussel Infestation
(Photo by Phil Kerber)

Wilson Zebra Mussel Infestation
(Photo By Phil Kerber)

Garbage Found and picked up off the Wilson During the Project
Steve Steichen, Tim Pranke (2009 Project Leader) and Jon Connolly
(Photo by Phil Kerber)

Wilson Monitoring Project 2011 Photos


This project is mainly for Monitoring the Zebra Mussel infestation just outside the Harbor of Duluth / Superior leading into Lake Superior.  We also measure movement on the Thomas Wilson since it is close to the Duluth Harbor and ice heaves have been known to move parts of the ship.

We also pick up trash around the perimeter and inside the Thomas Wilson.

The diving level on this project is a level 3. An advanced scuba diving certification is required.  We will be diving at depths of 60 to 70 FFW.  This will require a redundant air source such as a pony bottle either strapped to you tank or mounted like a stage bottle.  If you don't have one, we will provide this safety measure for you.  You will need to check your Buoyancy Compensator to see if it has D-Rings so that you can accommodate a stage bottle.  We will also provide Surface Supplied O2 for your safety stop at 15 feet.  We will be following the NO decompression schedules on the project!    

If you are interested in this project and would like to learn more or Register for this project, please click on link below.

If you have any questions about the Wilson Project, please contact Todd Olson with any of the information below.

Todd Olson
Wilson Project Leader


Thomas Wilson Zebra Mussel Monitoring Survey and Clean up Project

September 17- 18, 2011


August 29, 2011

The first email blast to the Membership was sent out to alert the Membership of the up-coming Wilson Project

September 12, 2011

The last email blast was sent to all that registered participants for the project to present more information about the dive and special equipment we are going to be using.

September 16, 2011

The start of the Wilson Project.  The crew will be meeting Friday night to stay on the boat.  (Some of the crew met us Saturday 6:30 AM before we departed the Marina).

Saturday September 17, 2011:

Welcome to the 2011 GLSPS Wilson Zebra Mussel and Monitoring Project.  On this project we will be monitoring the Zebra Mussel infestation on the Thomas Wilson Shipwreck  located 1.5 mile North North east from the Duluth Harbor entrance.  We will also be monitoring the structure of the shipwreck for movement that may have taken place within the last year.  Any trash we find will be brought up and disposed of properly.

We had great weather and the visibility wasn't too bad.  Weather reports are always a maybe when it comes to diving the Wilson.  The last two years of this project we had great visibility.  This year with all the rain, it's was up in the air.  We warned everyone that if the visibility is Less than 6 to 8 feet the dives will be called off and we can either go touring on the boat or touring in town.  We can always make a weekend of it including visiting the S.S. Meteor or the Edwin R Irvin next to the DECC in Duluth.  We could also visit the new Aquatic Species Display at the Duluth Aquarium.   This could provide more insight as to what the Zebra Mussels are all about.

Dive depths will be from 60 to 75 FFW.  Please plan your dives for the maximum dive depths.

Please bring all your cold water diving equipment including: 

1. Dry suit. 
2. I would recommend bringing at least a 95 Cu Ft tank.  (Steel or aluminum).  If you don't have one, please let Todd know and he will make sure we bring an extra 95 for you.
3. Pony bottles are required.  If you don't have one we can provide one if you let us know. 
4. 2 to 4 lbs of extra weight.  You might need it to help you stay put on the wreck.
5. Main U/W light with backup light
6. Extra clips and Caribbeaners 
5. Sleeping bag and pillow
6. Extra warm clothes, (Maybe a light jacket depending on the weather).
7. Any preferred snacks or beverages to share.

Please meet at the dock Friday night at the Spirit Lake Marina or by 6:30 AM Saturday Morning.  We will be departing the Marina by 7:30 AM.

We will be cruising nine miles through the St Louis River and through the Duluth Harbor (great scenic tour) and proceeding out into Lake Superior, 1.5 miles to the Thomas Wilson shipwreck.  Since a mooring is not provided on the this wreck, we will attempt to hook the wreck with minimal damage.


6:30 - 7:30 AM - Wake up time for those on the boat.  Load the rest of the necessary gear and cast off.

Before boat leaves all attendees will need to hand in their filled out and signed Liability and Waiver Forms.  Give a boat briefing just before we cast off.  Some will be eating a light breakfast while underway.  (Muffins, cereal, fruit etc will be provided). 

8:30 - 9:00 AM - Arrive at the Wilson shipwreck dive site and determine the visibility.

9:00 AM - Dive Safety Briefing and task briefing from the Project Leader Todd Olson.
(Or The Captain of the boat).

9:30 AM - Prepare and send first dive team, which was determined at the time of the Dive Briefing.

10:00 AM - Send second dive team.

10:30 AM Send third dive team, if any.

12:00 to 1:00 PM - lunch is served and debriefing of the dives made in the morning.  Document the results to provide a later report to the Society and other officials.

Start pumping / filling tanks.

1:30 PM - Dive team briefing on the next tasks needed to be performed.

2:00 PM - Send in first dive team.

2:30 PM - Send in second dive team.

3:00 PM - Send in Third Dive Team if any.  (Start filling divers air tanks)

4:00 PM - Dive Post Briefing for the days diving.  Start heading back to the marina for Dinner.

Note:  Dinner will not be provided.  You can go up town to eat at many different places.  Subway, Pizza, Chinese food, or the Tap a Keg, Duluth Grill ETC.

10:00 PM- Recommend lights out and sleeping time.  We need to be rested for Sundays dive and drive home.  Please, respect the quiet sleep time so everyone will be able to dive the next day. There is no 2AM bar close on this project.

Sunday September 18:  Same as Saturday, except there may only be one dive.  If there is time and we need to finish something on the wreck, we will make another dive.

7:00 AM - Wake up and cast off to serve breakfast while underway. 

3:00 PM - Departing the Wilson dive site to cruise back to the Marina to close another great project for the GLSPS.

4:30 - 5:00 PM - Pack up and head home thinking about the great time you had on the Preservation diving on a shipwreck during a project.

If you have any further questions about the project, please contact Todd Olson with any of the contact information below.

Thank you all for participating in a GLSPS Project.  We hope to see you on another project in the future.

Todd Olson
Wilson Project Leader


Report will be completed within two weeks after the project.  Please check back in the near future.



Thomas Wilson Zebra Mussel Monitoring Survey and Clean up Project
Project Report

September 17- 18, 2011

Wilson Project 2011 Crew
Lt to Rt
Corey Daniel, Todd Olson, Randy Flacksbarth, Joe Musial, Steve Daniel, Phil Kerber, Bill Wallace

Left Zebra Mussel - Right - Quagga Mussel






Saturday, September 17, 2011

The project started out a bit slow but picked up momentum as the day went on.  On most diving projects, the intensity of all the needed equipment and planning take many hours of time to organize in the beginning.  The boat and dive briefings need to be presented to all participants for safety and the S.O.P. of the Society.  Finally, the initial plan of what we would like to accomplish as our goal on this project are discussed.  While underway to the dive site and to save time, we presented the "Pre Dive Safety Briefing" and the Project Plan while having breakfast.

After arriving at the dive site, Phil Kerber (Captain of the vessel) sent a Security Call (every two hours) to all vessels in the area to let them know we are anchored on the Thomas Wilson and the location of which we are located from the Duluth entrance. 

Our first dive was about setting up the site for safety.  The first group of divers submerged to check out the water visibility.  The GLSPS S.O.P. for
minimum of horizontal visibility for Documentation Project dives is 8 feet.  The dive will be called if it is less than that.    The second dive team set up the surface supplied O2 by attaching it to the assent line (anchor line).  O2 tank was turned on and ready for use by the divers.  After the first dive team came backup up and said the visibility was 15 feet we started the next dive team.

The first team down of Corey Daniel and Bill Wallace secured the anchor and drop tank at the anchor.  Then they proceeded to the first location previously determined by last years location to count the Zebra Mussels.  When returning, the Zebra Mussel count was not significantly different than last years count.  If fact, it may be slightly less than last year.  We will have to compare to last years data to determine the difference.  (That report will follow later).  

We also took the time to inspect the hull for any difference from last year such as the possibility of the Wilson moving around or the cracks in the hull are getting bigger or not.  Divers reported that an additional crack may have formed in the bow area.  We will have to determine if that is accurate by viewing past data and video coverage.

The first dive team returned and the second team was then sent down to perform their tasks.  We then started to refill the first teams tanks with air.

The second dive team of Steve Daniel and Joe Musial had more time to count Zebra mussels in other predefined areas of the shipwreck.  There results seem to be the same as the first dive team.  After a look at last years data we will determine and report on the results later.  Please check back to see results report.  The second dive team also picked up some trash around the perimeter and on the Wilson.  They brought up two large bags of trash on the wreck.  I know that the results of that data can be determined right now.  There was considerably more trash on the wreck than what was found last year.  We are not sure who does that but it is not right, in our opinion, to see that much trash laying around the shipwreck.  The GLSPS will make a noble effort in the very near future to arrange to attach a buoy / mooring on the Thomas Wilson.   This would make it much easier to dive this shipwreck and to help preserve this valuable historical maritime monument.

The third dive team of Todd Olson, Phil Kerber and Randy Flacksbarth will shoot video to document the project.  The first day we tried to overlap the other divers so that we could maintain the S.O.P of the boat operators responsibility by waiting until Steve Daniel returned from his dive. 

The first day of the Project was very productive and were able to achieve our goals we set for the day.  We will still need to come back the next day (Sunday) to complete the rest of the project.

We departed the dive site at 5:00 PM and headed back to the Marina to settle in for Dinner and the over night stay.   

Sunday, September 18, 2011

We woke up by 6:30 to make an attempt to start earlier.  We departed the Marina dock at 7:30 AM.
As we were under way we had breakfast, presented another "Pre Dive Safety Briefing and the days project plan.  We arrived at the dive site at 9:00 AM and sent another security call the the vessels in the area to announce our intentions of anchoring on the Thomas Wilson shipwreck for the day. 

At 9:30 AM the first dive team of Steve  Daniel and Joe Musial were sent.  They tasks were to check the horizontal and vertical walls to see if that would make a difference as to where the Zebra Mussels would attach themselves and bring up the results.  The also inspected the hull where they were swimming and picked up more trash.

After the first dive team returned the second dive team of Phil Kerber, Todd Olson and Randy Flacksbarth were sent to monitor the bow crack and hull.  They also check the Zebra Mussel infestation around the bow area.  It seems the crack in the hull may have been there all along and perhaps has increased a little over time which will be determined later and after viewing more still and video shots of the shipwreck. 

The third team of Corey Daniel and Bill Wallace were sent to do more monitoring of the Zebra Mussel infestation on the shipwreck.  The compressor was started to refill the first teams tanks to prepare for the next dive.  They also inspected more of the hull in the areas in which they were assigned.  The team picked up more trash as well.

Unfortunately we were only able to make one dive each team on Sunday.  We needed to take some extra time to perform some boat preparation for winter lay up when we returned to the Marina.

More on this report will be added as time goes on and after the data, video and still shots have been reviewed.
Please check back in the future to see those results.

Please click on this link button to read the results of the Zebra Mussel infestation the GLSPS has been monitoring.

Please note there is a file of 2010 and 2011 project data available in the Documents section under Project Research Data and there are many project photos uploaded to the photo page under the section Wilson Zebra Mussel 2011 Monitoring Project.

Thank you to all that support the GLSPS in their efforts to preserve Maritime History.

Todd Olson
Thomas Wilson Project Leader