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Oceana County shipwreck seen again for the first time in 20 years

Posted at 11:33 PM, Jun 23, 2021

MEARS, Mich. — A shipwreck in Oceana County can be seen again for the first time in two decades. The high water levels have once again revealed the ship, believed to be from the 1850s.

Walt Ashley has lived nearby the shipwreck for the past 34 years and saw it for the first time 20 years ago.

"At that time, we had high water, and we also have high water now. That’s why we are seeing it now," said Ashley. "I’ve been looking hard ever since."

Ashley called the West Michigan Underwater Preserve to come out and inspect the wreck more closely to determine which boat it is and learn more about it.

John Hanson with the group took measurements and used his scuba diving skills to see the boat up close underneath the water. They believe it separated into three pieces, which all match up based on assembly and other characteristics of the manufacturing.

The information leads Hanson and the group at the preserve to believe the ship is the John B Wright, which went down in 1854. The ship was hauling cargo at the time it went down.

The discovery is exciting for Ashley who just sold his home and had hoped to see it one more time before moving.

"For his last summer here, I think it’s just fitting. He was the one that found it and reported it like 20 years ago. So I think it’s fitting that it came back home, so he could see it," said Hanson.