SS Regina (1907)

Coordinates: 43°20.24′N 82°26.76′W / 43.33733°N 82.44600°W / 43.33733; -82.44600
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Regina in 1910
Port of registry
BuilderA. McMillian & Son, Dumbarton, Scotland
Yard number419
LaunchedSeptember 4, 1907
CompletedOctober 1907
Maiden voyageJanuary 19, 1907
FateCapsized and sank between November 9 and November 10, 1913 during the Great Lakes Storm of 1913
General characteristics
TypeCargo ship
Tonnage1,956 GRT
Length249 ft 3 in (75.97 m) (lpp)
Beam42 ft 6 in (12.95 m)
Depth23 ft 0 in (7.01 m)
Installed powerTwo Scotch boilers

The SS Regina was a cargo ship built for the Merchant Mutual Line and home ported in Montreal, Quebec. Named after Regina, Saskatchewan, Regina had a tonnage of 1,956 gross register tons (GRT) and a crew of 32.

The ship sank during the Great Lakes Storm of 1913 after taking great damage. Lost for more than a half century, she became known as the "Great Mystery of the Great Storm of the Great Lakes". Since found, she has become an active dive site for scuba divers and is now part of Michigan's underwater Preserve system.


Regina was a steel-hulled cargo ship that had a tonnage of 1,956 gross register tons (GRT) and 1,280 net register tons (NRT). and measured 249 feet 3 inches (75.97 m) long between perpendiculars with a beam of 42 ft 6 in (12.95 m) with a depth 23 ft (7.0 m).[1][2] The ship was powered by two Scotch boilers providing steam pressure to a triple-expansion steam engine turning one screw. The engine was built by Muir and Houston of Glasgow, Scotland, and was rated at 650 hp (480 kW).[3]


In 1907, Regina was built in Dumbarton, Scotland by A. McMillian & Son with the yard number 419.[1] The order was placed by C.H.F. Plummer of Montreal, Quebec.[2] The vessel was launched on September 4, 1907 and completed in October. The ship was initially registered in Glasgow, Scotland.[1] In 1912 ownership was transferred to the Canadian Lake Transportation Company and in 1913 it was transferred to the Canadian Steamship Lines Incorporated (CSL), and the ship was re-registered in Toronto, Ontario.[1] Regina was used as part of the package freight business by CSL, delivering a variety of cargoes to various ports along the Great Lakes.[4]


On November 9, 1913 Regina was heading north from Point Edward, Ontario on Lake Huron.[5] During the night one of the worst storms in Great Lakes history arose. Waves raged up to 38 feet (12 m).[6] At the time, Regina was carrying a varied cargo, with destinations set for ten ports. Among the cargo included enough canned goods to fill eight railroad cars, 140 tons of baled hay and stacked atop the upper deck were sewer and gas pipes.[4]

During the storm the captain initially attempted to get to safe harbor. Failing to do that, he had ordered the ship anchored approximately 7 miles (11 km) east of Lexington, Michigan, close to shore and the lifeboats lowered. After anchoring, Regina capsized and sank. Later investigation of the ship's wreck found that the ship had run aground and had suffered a large hole near the cargo hold and several dents.[7] Near Port Franks, Ontario, two bodies were found with a capsized lifeboat from Regina and another ten bodies were found on the beach a short distance away.[8] There were no survivors from Regina.[7]

Sailors initially theorized that Regina collided with Charles S. Price, another ship sunk in the storm, as some of the bodies of Charles S. Price's crewmen were wearing lifebelts from Regina.[9] However, this theory was dismissed after Charles S. Price was found capsized on Lake Huron; a diver confirmed that the ship was Charles S. Price and that the ship showed no signs of being in a collision.[9]


Twelve ships foundered in the Great Lakes Storm of 1913, and there was confusion in determining where the shipwrecks were located. The day following the storm - November 10, 1913 - a huge steel freighter was discovered floating bottom side up on Lake Huron. The bow was about 30 feet (9.1 m) clear of the water, but the stern dipped underwater to such a degree that it was impossible to tell the length of the carrier. Every visible part of the hulk was coated with ice and there were no identifying marks in view. Originally, people assumed this vessel was Regina, as the visible length seemed to correspond to the size of the missing freighter. It was not until early on the morning of November 15 that the ship was identified as Charles S. Price, shortly before she sank on November 17. The front page of that day's Port Huron Times-Herald extra edition read, "BOAT IS PRICE — DIVER IS BAKER — SECRET KNOWN."[10]

Discovery and salvage[edit]

The wreck of Regina was discovered in 1986 in Lake Huron between Lexington and Port Sanilac, Michigan.[3][11] The wreck is largely intact but is upside down and in about 77–80 feet (23–24 m) of water. She was discovered by Wayne Brusate, Colette Witherspoon, Garry Biniecki and John Severance. During a 1987 archaeological salvage expedition led by underwater archaeologist and shipwreck expert E. Lee Spence, tens of thousands of artifacts, including hundreds of intact bottles of still potable Scotch and champagne were recovered.[12] Brusate and other divers made more than 400 dives on the wreck with permission from the Michigan State Department of Natural Resources, the Secretary of State and the United States Army Corps of Engineers, recovering an estimated 1% of the wreck's artifacts. The state and museums were given first choice of the artifacts, with Brusate keeping those unwanted items. In 2013, further artifacts were donated by Brusate to museums for display.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Regina (1124231)". Miramar Ship Index. Retrieved 13 April 2009.
  2. ^ a b "Regina". Historical Collections of the Great Lakes. Bowling Green State University. Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  3. ^ a b "History & Salvage of the SS Regina". Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  4. ^ a b Schumacher, Chapter 2: "So Violent a Storm"
  5. ^ Port Huron reporting station
  6. ^ NOAA Weather Model 2013
  7. ^ a b Schumacher
  8. ^ "Storm Toll Heavy in Life and Ships". Oshkosh Daily Northwestern. Oshkosh, Wisconsin. 12 November 1913. p. 1.
  9. ^ a b Hancock, p. 81
  10. ^ "Boat Is Price — Diver Is Baker — Secret Known". Port Huron Times-Herald (Extra ed.). Port Huron, Michigan. 15 November 1913. p. 1.
  11. ^ "University of Detroit Mercy Fr. Edward J. Dowling, S.J. Marine Historical Collection". Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 13 April 2008.
  12. ^ Briggs-Bunting, Jane; Geeslin, Ned (16 November 1987). "Yo-Ho-Ho and a Bottle of Mumm!". People. pp. 143–145. Archived from the original on 2 February 2014.
  13. ^ LeBlanc, Beth (11 December 2013). "Port Huron Museum selling artifacts from the SS Regina shipwreck". 660 News. Associated Press. Retrieved 23 May 2021.


43°20.24′N 82°26.76′W / 43.33733°N 82.44600°W / 43.33733; -82.44600