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Diving on the wreck of Al Capone's party boat in Lake Michigan

The Great Lakes region of North America is famous for its shipwrecks, but did you know that one of them is Al Capone’s party boat? The American state of Michigan is a real Mecca for wreck divers. It is located in the very centre of the Great Lakes of North America and offers a multitude
Published: March 27, 2022 - 09:00
Updated: July 23, 2023 - 00:28
Diving on the wreck of Al Capone’s party boat in Lake Michigan

The Great Lakes region of North America is famous for its shipwrecks, but did you know that one of them is Al Capone’s party boat?

The American state of Michigan is a real Mecca for wreck divers. It is located in the very centre of the Great Lakes of North America and offers a multitude of underwater attractions. Surrounded by Lakes Erie, Huron, Michigan and SuperiorMichigan provides access to many great wrecks from centuries past.

Among the many vessels that have sailed the surrounding waters and are now a diving attraction, there is one particular wreck. In the first half of the 20th century, the vessel belonged to the famous gangster Al Capone and served as a party boat. It was here that the Chicago mafia boss liked to hole up with a bunch of friends to disappear from the police radar and enjoy life.

Al Capone’s party boat

Being at the top of the mafia world, responsibilities and problems of a large calibre are the daily bread. So are all kinds of drugs and big money. And when you consider that the life of a gangster (at large) is usually short, it is hardly surprising that they like to take it to the limit. And where better to have fun than on your own yacht? Especially if you are the king of Chicago, which is located on Lake Michigan.

Al Capone, like many wealthy men from Illinois at the time, was particularly fond of the neighbouring state of Michigan. He often escaped from Chicago and enjoyed life on his boat undisturbed by anyone.

Here is the news clip with Blueyes below and I under the ice diving the kueka shipwreck.

Posted by Chris Roxburgh on Tuesday, March 8, 2022

The vessel in question originated as a freighter and was initially used mainly to carry a variety of goods. As the years passed, the boat was laid up and decommissioned, but that was not the end of it. It soon found a new owner and a completely different use.

According to available information, the boat became a real party centre of the Chicago underworld. Alcohol, live music, dancing and lots of parties, which were so much loved by its owner – Al Capone. The mafia boss was famous for his love of life and for being a good and generous host.

The end of the party and the sinking

However, nothing lasts forever and where there are gangsters, there is also trouble. The story goes that during one of the boat’s parties, someone was shot and that was the beginning of the end for the boat. The music stopped, there were no more parties and lavish receptions, and the boat found a new owner. More years passed and, as is often the case with old boats, this one was also forgotten. Finally it sank, neglected and forgotten by everyone.

But its story did not end there. Today, it is still visited by many people, although for a completely different purpose and in a completely different place. Al Capone ‘s party boat has become one of Michigan’s underwater attractions and attracts many divers. After all, who wouldn’t want to dive on the wreck of a vessel that belonged to the infamous Chicago mafia boss?


For technical divers from around the world, the Donegal coast has become synonymous with wreck diving. Among others due to the wreck of the SS Empire Heritage, which we wrote about in issue 17. the DIVERS24 quarterly magazine! The digital version of the magazine is available free of charge, while the printed version can be purchased from our online shop.

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About author

Marcin Pawełczyk
Marcin’s journey with diving has been an adventure. Starting as a recreational diver, he soon found himself drawn to the fascinating stories and mysteries of Baltic wrecks. After gaining experience, Marcin decided to go beyond just leisurely exploration and took his training up a notch by completing the TMX course, allowing him to explore even deeper and uncover the secrets of inaccessible places. His next challenge has been cave diving, where he is honing his skills to become a certified diver. Not content to simply take in the breathtaking beauty of underwater life, Marcin has also embraced underwater photography since 2018, capturing stunning shots that bring these worlds alive for those who are unable to experience them first-hand. Marcin’s passion for the underwater has taken him far and is sure to continue doing so as he dives into new depths and captures breathtaking images.
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