It’s springtime, which means that the excitement of warm weather is in the air, but in Sault Ste. Marie, there is something truly special about spring – shipping season. Today, we’re taking a look at how to find all of your favorite freighters and when they’ll pass through Soo Locks.

One of the most frequently asked questions we receive at the Sault Convention & Visitors Bureau is when will freighters be passing through the Soo Locks. Unfortunately, there is not a set schedule on when freighters will be making their way between Lakes Superior and Huron. However, the good news is there are three easy ways to stay up-to-date on when vessels will be passing through the Poe and MacArthur Locks.

If you’re after up-to-date information on where freighters are in the Great Lakes (or around the world), then look no further than This website is a vital tool for any self-proclaimed “boat nerd.” The site uses the satellite trackers that are onboard the boats to provide information on vessels’ locations so that users can stay informed.

The website is great on a computer, but they also offer an excellent smartphone app available for iOS and Android devices that is easy to navigate too.

You can identify boats by hovering over the dots on the map to bring up information on each ship on Marine Traffic. The green dots tend to be freighters. We have a handy graphic available too to help better understand how long it takes freighters on the Marine Traffic map to reach the Soo Locks.

Check out this great graphic that will show you how close certain locations in the Eastern Upper Peninsula are in relation to the Soo Locks. For example, if a freighter appears near De Tour Village on, it would be about five hours from the Soo Locks.
Soo Locks Visitors Center

The Soo Locks Visitors Center (SLCV) is not only a must-see stop when you’re in Sault Ste. Marie, it’s also a fantastic resource for anyone wondering when a freighter will be passing through the Soo Locks. Estimated times for when freighters passing through the locks are available inside of the center and there is a SLVC hotline that can be called at 906-202-1333 for more information.

It’s important to remember that there is no set schedule or 100 percent accurate way to predict when a freighter will be passing through the Soo Locks. But have no fear, the fine folks who run the SLVC give the best estimations possible. The SLVC opens yearly on Mother’s Day and stays open until mid-October, 9 a.m. until 9 p.m.

Sault Convention & Visitors Bureau

If you’re traveling without a computer and unsure how to check or just looking to hear from a person in real-time, you can always call us at the Sault CVB for up-to-date estimates on when freighters are passing through the Soo Locks! We are available 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday-Friday at (906) 632-3366. We will do our best to give an accurate estimate on when your favorite boat will be making its way through the Soo Locks.

Where are your favorite places to see freighters in Sault Ste. Marie? Make sure to tag all of your freighter pictures with #ilovethesoo on your social media so we can share in the fun! For more information on freighters and the Soo Locks be sure to follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.

Looking for more stories about the Soo Locks and freighters? 

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More information on how to use Marine Traffic