A few nights ago, on January 18, 2012, the 2011 Great Lakes shipping season officially came to a close with the closing of the Poe Lock in the Soo. What does this really mean for the ship watchers and boatnerds of the Great Lakes? It means there will be very few ships for the next 67 days. It does not mean there won’t be any ships at all.
The Soo Locks are an engineering masterpiece that require attention and maintenance to remain in good working order, and that is a very big, very cold, very dirty job. The US Army Corp of Engineers – Detroit District is responsible for the care and repair of the Locks, the channels, and the breakwaters of the St. Mary’s River, a vital part of the Great Lakes navigational system. This year the Saginaw was the last ship to clear the Locks before the midnight closing.
The Poe Lock is scheduled to reopen on March 25, 2012, weather permitting. This will mark the beginning of the 2012 Great Lakes shipping season and the return of the regular traffic in our Great Lakes and their connecting waterways and tributaries. Is it March 25 yet?