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Rains raise Great Lakes water levels, but lack of ice is a concern

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Wet weather could push Great Lakes water levels up from last year, but some fear those gains could evaporate because of unseasonably warm weather.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released its six-month forecast Wednesday calling for above-average levels on the lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario. By February, levels could be way up in Lake St. Clair — nearly 20 inches because of last year's ice jam, said Keith Kompoltowicz, a corps meteorologist.

That's good news for recreational boaters, but it could be short-lived. Some fear that gains from the region's second-wettest year in 131 years could be offset because it's almost January and the lakes still lack much ice. Temperatures in December were 3.6 degrees above average.  more...



Environment  Other  

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Ship project brings winter employment in the Sault

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SAULT STE. MARIE — Two local firms, MCM Marine and Reid Metals will dismantle the former Lake Michigan car ferry, Arthur K. Atkinson, according to a press release jointly-issued by the Darwin "Joe" McCoy and Ed Reid.
"We're pleased to be able to offer additional employment for the Sault area," said those orchestrating the project adding that the careful demolition and recycling of this vessel will protect the waters and eliminate future potential environmental risks.
The Arthur K. Atkinson, one of the last existing examples of the Railcar Great Lake Ferry, took her maiden voyage in January of 1917 sailing as the Ann Arbor #6, according to boat nerd member and historian, William Keetly who compiled the information upon learning the vessel was being docked in the Sault for the final time.  more...


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Boat Wiring and Exhaust Systems Do Not Mix

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If wiring is too close to the exhaust, it may be affected by heat. Ed Sherman explains.

Question: I recently noticed a large grouping of my boat’s electrical wiring that seems to be routed pretty near my engine’s exhaust system. It seems like this might be a problem as the exhaust system gets pretty hot when the engine is running, even though it is water cooled from the engine raw water system. From the photo, can you tell if I actually have a problem here? It would be a lot of work to correct if it’s not necessary.  more...



Other  Powerboating  

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Is Dry Stack Storage Right for You?

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More and more people are using dry stack storage for their boats these days. And there are many advantages to using a “boatel” as opposed to leaving Mom’s Mink in the water or on a trailer. Of course, there are a few down-sides as well. Is dry stacking a good option for you? Let’s find out.

Dry Stack Advantages

First, the positives: Maintenance is greatly reduced when a boat is kept out of the water. Waterlines are a thing of the past, the chance of blisters forming in your bottom goes down, and if the dry stack is under cover (which is common) your boat stays looking good longer. That means you spend less time waxing, and more time boating. Performance also gets a slight boost since bottom paint becomes unnecessary, and in most cases, painting the bottom of a boat shaves off one-half to one mile per hour of speed. Finally, consider cost; a dry stack can be half as much as a wet slip.   more...



Other  Powerboating  

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Cruise ship to dock in Sheboygan this summer

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Sheboygan's economy and status as a tourist destination will get a boost with the announcement that a cruise ship will stop here several times next summer.

Packages are available for a week-long cruise aboard the 138-passenger Yorktown, which will include seven stops in Sheboygan next summer from June through August.

Sheboygan will be the ship's only Wisconsin stop.

"We're definitely excited about it," said Sheboygan County Tourism Director Amy Wilson. "It's another way to put Sheboygan on the map."  more...


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Michigan Governor Rick Snyder mulls DRIC end run

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WINDSOR, Ont. -- Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder was reported Wednesday to be considering an end run around the state legislature to build a new Windsor-Detroit bridge.

"I'm looking at all kinds of options," said Snyder said in an interview with Gongwer News Service, an in-house news service in the state capitol of Lansing which reported he is exploring the legalities of an "interlocal agreement."

But Snyder told Gongwer he has not yet made any "set decisions," only that he will not give up on getting the bridge built. more...



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Bridge delays vex commission

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Border delays and the annual audit were in the spotlight during Monday’s meeting of the Sault Ste. Marie City Commission.

“This has been an ongoing problem,” said Commissioner Marilyn Burton, adding the customs agents have had years to respond to the delays at the south end of the International Bridge. “It’s unacceptable.”

Commissioner Jeff Stefanski was likewise irate with the obstacles visitors and residents alike face when they attempt to cross the bridge. In checking the estimated waits from Niagara Falls to International Falls — essentially all of the crossings throughout the Great Lakes region — Stefanski noted his online research showed that traffic into Sault Ste. Marie had the longest delays.  more...



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Supposed site of Griffon shipwreck to be partially excavated

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Researchers didn't find conclusive proof that whatever is lying just under the bottom of Lake Michigan is the long-lost sailing ship the Griffon -- but they found enough evidence that whatever is there could be the Griffon to warrant excavating just enough of the site to finally figure it out.

"We weren't able to find a smoking gun proving it's the Griffon," said Ken Vrana, director of the Center for Maritime and Underwater Resource Management in Laingsburg, which is leading the research. But the scans and bottom profiling showed "a mass" consistent with that of a sunken vessel, Vrana said.  more...



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Lake Erie’s tiny new invader

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A tiny invader would have slipped into Lake Erie unnoticed if not for biologist Patrick Hudson.

He checked for the parasitic copepod in September and found it on the second fish he sampled.

he species, Neoergasilus japonicus, has been in Michigan’s Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron since 1994. It hooks onto fish fins and eats organic material off their scales.

The animal is as long as a dime is wide and doesn’t draw much attention, Hudson said. “As long as it doesn’t impact some sort of fishery in the Great Lakes or cause some compounding of water intake, like zebra mussels, it’s probably of no interest for most people.”  more...



Environment  Other  

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Boating Safety Equipment Innovation by Boat Bog - Stops Leaks Fast!

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A 5cm hole in a boat can take in as much as 7 litres of water per second. For any boating enthusiast, professional or recreational, it is the first few seconds that determine if the incident will result in a minor inconvenience that is corrected quickly or a disaster that results in a boat sinking and people drowning.

Globally, thousands of people are forced into the water or drown as a result of leaks and holes that lead to the sinking of a boat. Regrettably, many of these tragic events are preventable with rapid emergency bung or gap filling solutions. Until now, many of the commercially available solutions for plugging leaks and gaps in boats, canoes, yachts and other water craft were complicated, time consuming, messy or just not very effective.  more...


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Detroit Boat Show tickets - perfect stocking stuffers

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LIVONIA, MICH. – DECEMBER 21, 2011 – Tickets for The Detroit Boat Show, held at Cobo Center in Detroit, Mich. from February 11-19, are on sale at DetroitBoatShow.net - and make for great stocking stuffers!

For the boaters in your life…The Detroit Boat Show features hundreds of boats for fishing, skiing, wakeboarding and cruising – also paddle boats, kayaks, paddleboards and inflatables.  Also on display and for sale will be boating accessories, nautical gifts, fishing accessories, electronics and much more.  more

Events  Other  



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Repairs get icebreaker under way

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imageThe U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw left Superior’s Fraser Shipyards on Thursday after workers repaired an oil leak in its bow thruster.

In part because of the narrowness of Howards Bay — where Fraser is located — Heritage Marine tug boats towed the 240-foot icebreaker into and out of the shipyard Thursday morning. The 2,200-horsepower Nels J. towed the Mackinaw stern-first to the East Gate Basin below the High Bridge. A second Heritage Marine tug, the Edward H., was fastened to the Mackinaw’s bow to help steer the ship. more...



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Harbormaster: Commercial boats can no longer access St. Joseph Harbor

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SAINT JOSEPH, Mich. - Saint Joseph Harbormaster Larry LaValley said Thursday commercial boats can no longer navigate the Saint Joseph Harbor. A buildup of sand is too high for ships to enter the channel. "It's highly unlikely a boat could ever come through with this amount of water," said LaValley.

The problem was first discovered December 6th when the Manitowoc, a ship carrying more than 12 thousand pounds of limestone got stuck in the bottom of the channel and was diverted to another port. “In the last week there’ve been two boats diverted out of the Saint Joseph Harbor,” said LaValley. The other boat he said was headed to LaFarge, a commercial dock in the harbor. more...


Environment  Other  

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The Great Lakes Small Harbors Coalition

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The Great Lakes Small Harbors Coalition is a group representing small harbors from around the Great Lakes where dredging and harbor maintenance issues are of particular concern. Boat groundings, life endangerment, damage to local economies, a massive backlog of projects, and dramatic deterioration of our navigation infrastructure have all resulted from the lack of sufficient funds to support harbor dredging and maintenance.

The coalition will work with federal and Great Lakes entities to effect the changes needed to address the long-term viability and safety of our harbors.  more...



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Ice breaking tug arrives to help break ice on the Great Lakes

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A Maine based Coast Guard cutter is getting ready for a busy winter on the Great Lakes.

The Cutter Thunder Bay arrived at its temporary home port at the Cleveland moorings on Monday.

The 140 foot ice-breaking tug will stay there until it's needed to help break ice in the Great Lakes throughout the winter months.

Such tugs provide a vital service helping ships loaded with cargo transport and deliver goods.  more...



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