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Old 24-08-2017, 16:00   #1
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Lake Michigan shipping

Hello all. Weather permitting, I am going to cross Lake Michigan from Grand Haven to Chicago in a couple weeks (early September) in my 34 ft sailboat. The route is 90 nm. I figure 15 to 18 hrs. I was going to go overnight. Me and one crew.

Does anyone have any experience or info regarding large ships? Do a lot of ships go north from the Chicago - Gary areas? I have the NOAA map of Lake Mi that shows shipping lanes. Is there any utility in planning my route to avoid those lanes? Or will ships be fair game anywhere.
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Old 24-08-2017, 17:18   #2
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Re: Lake Michigan shipping

Certainly, there are lots of freighters plying the waters of the GL's, but there is lots of water out there as well. You will have a hard time staying out of those shipping lanes going E-W and back. Just keep a good watch and know that they are moving faster than the average sailboat.
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Old 24-08-2017, 17:50   #3
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Re: Lake Michigan shipping

Can't wait for someone to say the OP needs AIS.
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Old 25-08-2017, 05:49   #4
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Re: Lake Michigan shipping

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Can't wait for someone to say the OP needs AIS.
You need AIS...sorry I could not help it Delancey, if you tee it up I have to take a whack at it.

Just keep a good lookout...there is not a steady stream coming and going from Chicago as compared to really busy shipping lanes...just keep an eye out...you should be just fine.
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Old 25-08-2017, 05:59   #5
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Re: Lake Michigan shipping

Sailors running at night used to hoist radar reflectors high up the mast, is that not done anymore? Relying entirely on one system (sleepy eyeballs on both boats) might be fine, but anything you can add will be extra safety.
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Old 25-08-2017, 06:42   #6
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Re: Lake Michigan shipping

Thanks for the feedback.

Tomdidit, yes I will have to cross them one way or another, so there isn't a good or bad way to route, I suppose.

I know we will need to keep watch, regardless, but does anybody know if the large ships are restricted to the shipping lanes shown on the NOAA charts?

30West, I do have a small-trash-can-sized reflector that goes half way up that mast. I have it down for day sailing, so I suppose I should put that up for this trip.

Thanks Siren, good to hear it's not a steady stream.

Noob question, here, I just got this boat and it is a great deal more sophisticated than others I have sailed... I would know if it had AIS, right? It wasn't listed on the listing. I have gone through the boat a few times and have most of the electronic units identified and I did not identify a dedicated AIS unit, but I will need to take another look.

I do have radar. Again, I need to learn more about it as far seeing if I can set up alarms and such.
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Old 25-08-2017, 06:49   #7
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Re: Lake Michigan shipping

You won't have any trouble, don't worry about it. I've sailed the great lakes for 40 years, thousands of races including Chicago and Bayview Macs and transit the Detroit and St Clair rivers annually. There are not that many ships and as others have said there is a lot of water. Do keep a watch though.
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Old 27-08-2017, 17:56   #8
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Re: Lake Michigan shipping

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You won't have any trouble, don't worry about it. I've sailed the great lakes for 40 years, thousands of races including Chicago and Bayview Macs and transit the Detroit and St Clair rivers annually. There are not that many ships and as others have said there is a lot of water. Do keep a watch though.

Funny!
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Old 06-10-2017, 22:14   #9
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Re: Lake Michigan shipping

Did you make it? Hopefully you read "How to Avoid Huge Ships". It's at least worth looking at the reviews: https://www.amazon.com/product-revie...owViewpoints=1

People cross shipping channels all the time - just keep a watchful eye.
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