Michigan Shipwreck Research Association (MSRA) is a 501(C)3 nonprofit whose mission is to research Michigan's maritime history, conduct expeditions to locate lost shipwrecks, document the wreck sites, and interpret these rich cultural resources in educational and entertaining ways through its website, newsletters, articles, books, documentaries, museum exhibits, an annual film festival, and other public presentations. The discovery of shipwrecks offers a physical connection to the past and serves as a hook to entice the public’s interest in history, science, and technology. MSRA is seeking funds to purchase its own side-scan sonar, the tool of choice for deep water shipwreck hunting.
Capital Campaign Background and Objectives
Since MSRA’s founding in 2001, the organization has conducted annual expeditions to search for lost vessels using outside consultants. Partnering with side scan sonar operator David Trotter and explorer Clive Cussler, MSRA has surveyed 600 square miles and located 20 shipwrecks. While MSRA will continue to work with Trotter for as long as he is willing, MSRA would like to extend its search season and work toward being self-sufficient by owning and operating its own sonar. MSRA technical director Jack Van Heest will oversee side scan operations and maintain his 24-bayliner for side scan sonar operations. Van Heest, along with MSRA directors Craig Rich and Valerie van Heest, and several key members, all seasoned boat operators, who have trained under Trotter in the operator of sonars will serve as expedition crew members. There will be opportunities for other members to assist. MSRA members have committed to operating the sonar for a minimum of 15 days each season (weather permitting), which is three times the typical number of days spent each year with consultant surveys. The sonar is capable of covering 4 – 6 square miles per day, so MSRA hopes to cover at least 60 square miles per season. MSRA has researched almost a dozen still missing wrecks of West Michigan a number of lost it has researched and hopes to find. The initial goals are Northwest Flight 2501, Andaste, and Sea Mar III with more to follow. As always, MSRA shares its discovery with the public through archaeological documentation resulting in educational publications, programs and exhibits. All its research is stored at the Joint Archives of Holland, and coordinates of the wrecks are published and made available to divers.
DeepVision Side Scan:
After analyzing several brands, MSRA has selected DeepVision, the most affordable professional grade sonar suitable for MSRA expedition needs. An associate operates this unit, he has used to successfully locate dozens of shipwrecks in water less than 350 feet deep.
MSRA would like to have the new unit in hand by May 1 (which means placing the order by April 1). This will allow the new unit to be used for the spring search season.
Side-Scan purchase price:
Deep Vision 340 with 400 meters of cable: $11, 500
Building winch/reel mechanism for boat Van Heest donation
Gas and launch fees for 2019 Season $ 1,500
Total purchase price and one season operation $13,000
MSRA Starting Funds -$ 4,100
CAPITAL CAMPAIGN AMOUNT: $ 8.900
*Operation costs of side scan will be manageable each year after 2019 through ordinary proceeds from MSRA annual film festival.
Donors at variuous levels will receive similar benefits as MSRA members. See the levels at http://michiganshipwrecks.org/join
In addition, donors at a level of $250 and above will be invited to pre-discovery cocktail parties to learn about any discovery before it is made public.