Following the end of World War II, many military surplus items were made available to the public. One of these items that made it to Northern Michigan was a Landing Craft Medium (LCM), which was then converted into a fuel oil hauling barge. The owners of this LCM barge named her “NORTH MANITOU”. On September 18, 1947, the NORTH MANITOU was bound for her namesake, North Manitou Island, with a load of fuel oil. Rough weather and mechanical failure added up to create a catastrophe, and the small, staunch vessel soon foundered, throwing her two crewmembers into the churning sea, within sight of their destination. One of the crewmen, 45-year-old Dean Richardson, was able to swim ashore wearing a lifejacket, but was hospitalized due to shock and exposure.
The other crewman, 45-year-old Arlie Maker, was not so lucky. His lifejacket clad body was found a couple of days later by his friends, who were searching for him. The LCM NORTH MANITOU has never been located and is thought to be just a couple miles off North Manitou Island.