Protected areas of the Great Lakes on Michigan's coast
Michigan Underwater Preserves or Michigan Bottomland Preserves are protected areas of the Great Lakes on Michigan's coast. The thirteen designated areas, comprising a surface area of over 7,000 square miles (18,000 km2), are considered to be "Underwater museums" and serve to protect concentrations of shipwrecks, unique geologic features and other submerged sites through awareness and public interest. The program is currently receiving no funding from the state and does not offer any extra legal protection for the sites in the preserves. However, it is a felony to remove or disturb underwater artifacts in the Great Lakes. Persons apprehended and convicted of removing or willfully damaging underwater artifacts risk confiscation of their equipment (boats, cars, dive gear, etc.), stiff fines and up to two years imprisonment. The Michigan Underwater Preserve Council advocates on behalf of all of Michigan's Underwater Preserves.
Below is a list of the 13 underwater preserves in the State of Michigan: