Port Huron and the Great Lakes Maritime Center, a great place for boat watching!

A great place for ship watching!

Many people enjoy the pastime of watching freighters sailing in various parts of the Great Lakes and the St Lawrence Seaway. All have a favorite spot to watch and photograph from, but most have a spot that they dream of visiting someday. For many, that spot is Port Huron with its Great Lakes Maritime Center, home to the international headquarters of boatnerd.com.

The Blue Water Bridge with the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse’s green flash in the distance.

Salties and Lakers, Tankers and ‘Footers’ pass by the watchers at the Maritime Center on a regular basis. Following is a random gathering of ships that have sailed past Port Huron in the last year. Most were photographed from the Maritime Center, but some were captured at the Blue Water Bridge or the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse.

Shipping Season has Officially Ended on the Great Lakes

The Great Lakes in Winter, not a fit place for man or ship.

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?