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.

Know Your Ships – Do You Have Your Copy Yet?

Roger LeLievre

Roger LeLievre’s phenomenal book, Know Your Ships -2012 edition, is now available! This book is a must have for anyone with an interest in the ships and shipping on the Great Lakes.

It includes information on renamed ships, recently scrapped ships, and other changes that have occurred since the last issue. The pages are filled with information, spectacular photography, and more.

In the Port Huron area you can find a copy at The Great Lakes Maritime Center, the Thomas Edison Inn, the Lightship Huron, and the St Clair Pharmacy. Online, you can order your copy of Know Your Ships as well as other books, DVDs and apparel at http://www.knowyourships.com. Orders are taken by mail at: Know Your Ships, 317 S. Division St #8, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. Call (906)632-8417.

Thanks, Roger, for another great issue of Know Your Ships!!

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?


The New Kid on the Lakes

The brand new Algoma Mariner

There is a new kid on the Great Lakes by the name of the Algoma Mariner.  She is a 740 foot maximum Seaway size, Coastal Class self unloading bulk carrier with the capacity to haul 37,162 tons, or the equivalent of 83,242,880 lbs.  Built at the Nantong Mingde shipyard in China, it arrived home in Canada on August 3, 2011.  The Algoma Mariner was supposed to be a conversion of the Algoma Central’s ship the Algoport, but the Algoport foundered at sea while being towed to China.  It broke apart and sank, so the Algoma Mariner is a completely new vessel.

Its your town, what do you want to hear about?

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I love Port Huron.

I have not lived here long, but I have grown very fond of this area and Most of the people here.  I enjoy blogging about the awesome people, places, and happenings around town.  But, because I have not lived here long I may not know some of the Off-the-beaten-path great spots that are uniquely Port Huron.

If there is something that you would like to see here, whether it is a place you love, your business, or just something you would like to see shared here, please leave a comment or send me an email (you can find the address on my about me page) feel free to.

Ship Watching at Vantage Point

Port Huron is known as one of the best spots along the Great Lakes Shipping Channel for ship watching.  There are several key sites along the Port Huron shoreline, but arguably one of the best ship viewing places is at Vantage Point.  The friends at the Maritime Center provide narrative to accompany the passing of each ship.  This narrative, provided by the great folks from boatnerd.com, gives technical information such as size, power source, and type of cargo.  It also includes such trivia as date and place the ship was built; different names, owners, and jobs the ship has done in the past; and where it is heading currently.  The river is not to wide in front of Vantage Point, so the ships are close enough to view, photograph, and enjoy.  Vantage Point provides a cafe, ample seating indoor and out, and a friendly atmosphere in which to enjoy your ship watching experience.

Northbound patiently waiting for Southbound to pass

ship viewing at Vantage Point