Just wondering if anyone here has sailed on the Great Lakes and what was their experience like? Good sides? Bad sides? Anything at all?
camthrop - I’m familiar with the Great Lakes, and live on Lake Superior. Nearly all my experience there has been on private vessels. I probably couldn’t give you much info about the commercial end of things, but have sailed all of the lakes.
I’d be hapopy to try to answer any questions if I can.
I’m just curious to see what life is like sailing on the lakes, if people are happy enough to stay there and not seek employment elsewhere. Just trying to accumulate as much knowledge as possible about different aspects and regions of the business!
I have sailed the Great Lakes on a USCG Bouy Tender and as a Merchant Marine officer. I also was a Pilot for two years on the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. It is a beautiful area to work in and it is one of the largest pilotage areas in the world. The commercial U.S. shipping is generally comprised of self-unloading bulk cargo vessels. They range from 600ft to 1,000ft. The commodities are coal, iron ore (taconite pellets), stone (limestone) for construction, and bulk cement. Then there are a few tug and barge companies (one less now) who transport asphalt and petroleum products. The economy has severely crippled the shipping up here. Taconite shipments are down by almost half of last year and coal is about 30% down. It is not a good situation, but maybe next season will be better. I have chosen to seek work elsewhere, back to OSV’s. For anything you want to know about Great Lakes shipping, visit: www.boatnerd.com enjoy.