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Some books about the Great Lakes for the Summer

Recently we’ve received some fantastic books about the Great Lakes. It’s an incredibly important environment for maritime commerce as well as for recreational boaters. These books provide some insight into the commercial aspects of Great Lakes Traffic.

Know Your Ships 2017
Marine Publishing Co.

This is a classic book, and a must-have for anybody who is curious about freighter. This book provides an incredible amount of up-to-date information about the fleets that service the Great Lakes and the ships that ply the waters. It addresses both the local Lakers, as well as the Saltwater freighters that also frequently come into the system.

if you’re a veteran watcher of the Great Lakes fleets, this is definitely a book for you.


A Beginner’s Guide to Ship Watching
Brett Ortler

This book is great for those who are new to the Great Lakes, or new to ship watching. It begins with an educational FAQ about freighters in general, then proceeds to describe good places for ship-watching. NB: This is an American-published book, and so there is very little discussion of good places for ship watching in Canada, limited to the Welland Canal. If you’re touring the American side of the Great Lakes, this book should absolutely go with you.


Sailing Into History: Great Lakes Bulk Carriers
Frank Boles

Frank Boles has spent many years working research libraries and archives around the Great Lakes, and this book brings forth his expertise on commercial shipping in the Great Lakes. The author examines every aspect, from the way that the Lakes themselves have been reshaped for shipping, to seamanship, Union relationships, the relationship between the ships and ports and other topics. This is an essential book for any student of Great Lakes history.

Lake Boats: The Enduring Vessels of the Great Lakes

Lake Boats: The Enduring Vessels of the Great Lakes
Greg McDonnell

A big, beautiful tribute to the historic ships still working the Great Lakes, from cement boats such as the 100-year old “St. Marys Challenger” to straight-deckers, self-unloaders and 1,000-footers sailing under the flags of prominent Great Lakes fleets: Algoma Central, Upper Lakes, Lower Lakes, American Stamship, Canada Steamship Lines, and others. Includes exact identification and specifics plus a history of each vessel.

The Inland Steel Fleet. 1911-1998
Raymond Bawal, JR.

For nearly ninety years, lake freighters belonging to the Inland Steel fleet transported the raw materials required for the manufacture of steel at their owner’s industrial complex at Indiana Harbor, Indiana. This volume traces the history of this company’s involvement in the Great Lakes shipping industry throughout most of the twentieth century, achievements in which included the commissioning of groundbreaking vessels such as the steamers Wilfred Sykes and Edward L. Ryerson.

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