280915_10150247618013988_7693386_o-001.jpgFreighters are the workhorses of the Great Lakes with a very important job that brings necessary supply to the nation, but they also became a main attraction here in Sault Ste. Marie.

10 months of the year the Soo Locks are open to boat traffic allowing motorized boats of all sizes to easily navigate what was once 21 foot rapids. 400,000 people a year visit the Soo Locks during these months to see the freighters.

Alpena Roger LeLievre Know Your Ships May 2016

Photo of the Alpena by Roger LeLievre

We even have a holiday to celebrate freighters, Engineer’s Day. One day a year the general public is allowed across the gate walls of the Soo Locks to get up close and personal with the freighters. Always the last Friday in June and everyone is welcome.

Soo Locks at Night by Mikel Classen

Photo by Mikel B. Classen

What is it about these floating masses of steel that draws thousands of people to Sault Ste. Marie every year? Funny thing about these freighters is they grow on you. A freighter can put a smile on my face and my favorite freighter (the Alpena) can make my whole day! Don’t judge until you’ve looked at these massing hulks of modern engineering for years on end and watch as people from all walks of life are drawn to the Soo for the freighters. I can’t tell you what magic these freighters hold, but I can invite you here to experience it for yourself.

173 million: Tons of cargo carried by Great Lake Freighters in 2006.

$3.6 billion: Savings realized annually by industries that use Great Lakes freighters instead of trucks or trains to move cargo.

607 miles: Distance a Great Lakes freighter can carry one ton of cargo on one gallon of fuel.

70,000: Tons of cargo that can be carried by a 1,000-foot-long freighter; it would take 3,000 semis to carry that much cargo. Info from Boatnerd.com

Watch and learn more about a very unique group of people called BoatNerds (I’m a proud member).