Legends of Diving Articles


David Trotter
Great Lakes Shipwreck Explorer

David Trotter’s name is synonymous with Shipwreck Explorer, particularly in the area of the Great Lakes in the Midwestern United States and Canada. Born in Ottawa, Iowa on December 17, 1940, David began his love affair with diving in 1963 at the age of 23. Trotter recalls with amusement that his YMCA course required no open water checkouts. In fact, after his

fourth session (of six), the assistant dive instructor declared that David looked good and would he like to travel to Morrison Springs for a weekend of diving? Trotter borrowed some equipment and off they went. He never completed that course, due to a job change, and it was years before he actually received an “official C card,” but that certainly did not curtails his diving activities!

Trotter’s focus has long revolved around his passion for shipwreck exploration in the Great Lakes. He acknowledges the early Great Lakes Shipwreck hunters and explorers,

David decompressing after a dive to
video a new shipwreck discovery

such as John Steel, Paul Ehorn, Garry Kosak, as well as Chuck and Jerri Feltner, as sources of inspiration for his own career.

David’s career spans some four decades and he has made significant contributions in diving, exploring, and documenting new discoveries surrounding the Great Lakes shipwrecks. His work has not only provided invaluable historical documentation for these wrecks, but has paved the way for more exploration opportunities for other sport and technical divers to enjoy.

Some of Trotter’s shipwreck discoveries have been featured on the Discovery Channel, PBS, NBC, as well as in journals like the New York Times, Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, Canadian “Diver” Magazine Lakeland Boating, “Wreck Diver”, and “Immersed” Dive Magazines.

His articles have been published in various historical journals, as well as national scuba diving publications.

This intrepid explorer has searched and discovered shipwrecks in all of the Great Lakes, except for Lake Ontario. Trotter spent years of dedicated effort to discover the largest schooner built in Canada, the 250’Minnedosa. As a result of this unique odyssey, over 2,000 square miles of Lake Huron were surveyed, with 80-90 new sites being discovered along the way. Some of the exciting finds were airplanes, the steamer Daniel J Morrell, and the steamer Goliath. The Goliath was designed by John Ericsson in 1846, fifteen years before he designed the ironclad Monitor of Civil War fame.

David founded his organization, Undersea Research Associates, to present the Great Lakes community with an electronically sophisticated means of underwater search and survey for archeological and commercial purposes.

David & Mickey Trotter celebrating David's
2010 Our World-Underwater award for contributions to diving.

Utilizing state-of-the-art side scan sonar, the organization offers visual underwater time capsules of marine history with high resolution bottom profiling at depths to 1,000 feet, underwater site survey, and underwater photographic documentation.

Trotter views The Great Lakes as a treasure to be enjoyed by all who love our “inland seas” and appreciate our rich maritime history. He feels that a diver exploring a shipwreck, whether in 20’ or 300’ of

water has that unique experience of traveling back into time. To honor David’s extensive contributions to diving and to the Great Lakes maritime history, Our World-Underwater (Chicago) presented him with the very special 2010 OW-U Achievement Award.

Trotter’s adventures in diving and exploring the shipwrecks of the Great Lakes has been chronicled extensively in the book Shipwreck Hunter by Gerry Volgenau.

David has been happily married to his wife, Michele, for 47 years, and has two sons, Jay and Ross, as well as three grandchildren. He continues to lecture and promote Great Lakes exploration through his organization Undersea Research Associates.

Thousands of people have enjoyed David's live presentations of his colorful tales of discovery and shipwreck exploration. His programs are designed for people of all ages and he tailors each program to the audience....children to grandparents. His programs are suitable for small as well as large groups and can be presented in video, DVD, or multimedia format and are delivered with his charismatic live narration. To schedule one of David's presentations, you can contact him at:

David Trotter
7805 Royal Court N.
Canton, Mi 48187

Portage Quarry Recreation Club, Inc.
12701 South Dixie
Bowling Green OH, 43402

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