Preparing you for the adventure that lies ahead!

SOL MATES DIVE CHARTERS

Diving in Isle Royale National Park

Isle Royale offers some of the best fresh water shipwreck diving in the world.

Departure & Return

Please arrive no later than 7:00 AM on the 1st day of the charter. Charter groups are welcome to sleep on the boat the night prior to our departure. This allows for time to load the boat, check certifications, take care of all paperwork (liability releases, medical statements), and to conduct the required boat briefing. It's our goal to leave the dock by 8:00 AM. There will be a continental breakfast served while underway. We typically stop in Windigo Harbor to register with the Park Service before our first dive, although sometimes we delay this until later in the day. Windigo does have a small store from which to purchase souvenirs of your visit to the island.

Our goal is typically to return between 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM on the final day of the charter in order to allow for ample daylight for unloading the boat and for everyone to drive home. Please note that specific times can and will vary depending on the needs and constraints of the specific trip.

Weather

Isle Royale weather is usually cooler than the rest of Lake Superior. The weather changes quickly, often causing rapid changes in wind and wave conditions. As a result we cannot “promise” that you will have a chance to dive any particular wreck, but we assure you that we will do our best to accommodate the wishes of the group while keeping everyone safe and happy. For an Isle Royale specific weather forecast, try this link: Weather.com Isle Royale Forecast.

Exploring the Shipwrecks

Shipwrecks are the primary reason most people come to dive Isle Royale. But diving the shipwrecks of Isle Royal is not for the novice diver. We recommend all divers be at least Advanced Open Water certified, and preferably have certifications in deep water and shipwreck diving, as well as experience in cold water. In the words of the National Park Service: “Divers on shipwrecks can become lost in a maze of confined passages or entangled in debris, wire, and line. Darkness and silt found within wrecks can reduce visibility to zero. We recommend proper training and equipment for diving the wrecks found within the cold and often deep waters of Lake Superior.”

The crew will check logbooks and discuss with the group leader individual needs for each diver. However, Isle Royale can provide an excellent teaching environment for learning more about deep diving and shipwreck diving in cold water. Sol Mates can make properly certified SCUBA instructors available to teach during your charter if this is of interest. Please contact us for more information.

Please note … All Isle Royale shipwrecks are protected by the National Park Service as cultural treasures. Federal law prohibits the removal or disturbance in any manner of underwater culture sites and associated artifacts. This includes shipwrecks or remains of ships, as well as other antiquities on the bottom lands of waters in Isle Royale National Park. Penalties include prison sentences and fines up to $10,000. Rewards up to $500 may be paid to anyone who furnishes information that leads to conviction of a criminal violation. Spear guns of any kind are prohibited. Occasionally divers may discover artifacts of high quality and value. The Park Service requests that these be reported these to a park ranger as soon as possible. Please do not remove the artifacts.

Dive Planning & Decompression

All divers aboard Sol Mates will dive with a buddy, and perform their dives within “no-decompression” dive limits. We strongly encourage all divers to not push the recreational limits of their dive tables or dive computer.

Visibility 

Visibility is usually between 20’ to 80’ but is often unpredictable. As the season progresses the visibility is typically in the 30’ to 40’ range. A dive light is recommended to help you see the highlights of the wrecks.

Reserve Your Spot

Multiple types of charter packages are available depending on the needs of your group. Feel free to contact us directly with any questions: Hanz Lehrke 651-208-9277 hanzlehrke@aol.com or Bob Karl 651-261-5719 karlx002@umn.edu.