Grand River Navigation or Interlake Steamship Company?

Hello All,

I’am thinking about working on the Great Lake’s, and wanted to know the pro’s and con’s for both companie’s. And which company would be the better option, from those who have sailed with either company.

Thank You,


Go with Interlake. Best food on the lakes.

depends on the position you plan to sail as?

The are represented by different unions. Grand River Navigation is MM&P’s Inland Division. Interlake is MEBA. If you go with the MEBA there is always the option of going deep sea with another MEBA contracted company if you tired of the Lakes (as long as you hold the qualifying license). With the MM&P transferring to the Offshore Division is a bigger hassle.

MMP Inland Division to MMP Offshore - Maritime Employment - gCaptain Forum

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Have not sailed with MEBA or MMP. Am famliar with both. If the pay and benefits are similar, go for the best grub.The ones that feed well have a clue as to crew comfort and perhaps negotiations down the road. No pick for one or the other. Union member for my entire life. No regrets. Dues are incredbly cheap for representation. I take a small walk to my mailbox once a month.

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I’ve hear grand river is a dumpster fire right now.

Have heard same. Don’t know. Not an area I know much about.

My suggestion is to look at their equipment - Interlake maintains and continues to upgrade their fleet, including that they’re currently in the process of building a new vessel. You’ll need a tetanus shot before ever stepping aboard Grand River’s equipment - it’s comprised mostly of rust.

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Thank you all for your replie’s. I’am an AB, and know that the Steel Worker’s Union represent’s the unlicensed for Interlake. And MMP represent’s licensed and unlicensed deck/engine with Grand River, which I thought to be interesting. I spoke with Grand River HR, and it seemed like they are desperate to hire people. Becasue the lady wanted to hire me right away, without answering my question’s first. So that was a red flag. When I spoke with Interlake HR they answered my question’s, and said if I have more question’s just to call back. Grand River pays more than Interlake, but I assume that is to keep people with the company??? The lady with Grand River HR said they pay $285/a day, $35/hr for OT, $1000 sign on bonus, after 90 day’s a $350 clothing allowance, and after day 30 of being aboard the ship you get $100 added to your daily rate. Which are all good incentive’s, but if that is just to maintain crew from not leaving then Grand River Navigation must leave a lot to be desired.

I know a few friends who went through GLMA and signed on with GRN for the incentives and guaranteed work since they are seriously short staffed at the moment. Just about every single one walked after their first hitch, the others walked after a few trips. Apparently the money doesn’t match the promises.

Thank you for your reply. I thought so, money is not everything. Like I said, the HR lady wanted me to email copie’s of my MMC, and hire me pretty much right away before answering my question’s. To make sure it would be a good fit for me, and that was a red flag. Interlake did not do that when I called.

I wasn’t going to add my thoughts re GRN until others spoke up. GRN is owned by some Wall Street vulture investment fund, Interlake is owned by 2 families whose attitude is “this is who we are and what we do” when it comes to US flag shipping.

Wow, thank you for sharing! After reading the article, they are (GRN) trying to do the Great Lakes shipping industry, like they did the rubber, steel, and automotive industrie’s in NE Ohio were I grew up. Actually the entire Rust Belt for that matter. No wonder they (GRN) entice you with higher pay and incentive’s. Thanks Again!

I know someone there at Interlake. They just had a the fall meeting and I guess they went through 75 unlicensed people in a year. Its touted as a premium family premier this and that.

Here is the deal. Cliffs owns all the mines and now all the furnaces. Coal is dead, stone is limited its all Iron ore mostly. Get on a cliffs owned boat as they will eventually cut the middleman. GRN are scrappers and ISS can undercut them if they need to since they run thier boats on cheaper fuel. ISS is job security for now, but way less pay and well 75 people hired this year I believe. What does that tell you? Also I hear ISS is getting very diverse now. hooray As for time off, they are handing it out toall new hires. The union is Steel Workers at ISS, no you wont get to see the labor agreement. lol

I recommend going where the money is. good luck to you


My belly; although not large led me to the best jobs. No thank you to rustbuckets.My chiefs suffered as well.

Thanks again for the info.