115 years ago today, St. Marys Challenger, then known as the William P. Snyder, met the waters of the Great Lakes for the first time when she was launched at Great Lakes Engineering Works at Ecorse, MI. Today, she survives as a cement carrier barge, owned by Port City Marine Services.
Today marks the 45th anniversary of the sinking of the steamer Edmund Fitzgerald. We would like to take a moment to remember the 29 brave men lost aboard her when she sank in Lake Superior on November 10, 1975.
Announcing the Shipwatcher News Caring for our Sailors program! We are working to put together care packages for sailors on Great Lakes ships during the holiday season. We are going to provide healthy snacks and a few treats, as well as gum, hot chocolate packets, and more for these sailors. We are looking for generous supporters to donate to our cause to help cover the costs of purchasing the gifts and packaging.
We have currently partnered with the S/S Alpena, Grand River Navigation, Interlake Steamship Company, Lower Lakes Towing, Port City Marine Services, and VanEnkevort Tug & Barge to provide gifts for over 550 sailors on 29 ships. We are also working with both the J. W. Westcott Company of Detroit and Soo Marine Supply of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, for delivery of the care packages, both of whom have agreed to deliver them free of charge for our project. We are also offering the sailors a chance to win a “bonus gift”, with chances to win two VIP ferry tickets to Mackinac Island aboard Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry or an autographed Know Your Ships 2020 book.
There are many ways to help out in this project. Please visit and like our Facebook page. Those interested in donating gifts for the sailors can visit our Amazon shopping list and purchase items needed, which will be shipped directly to us. People can also give monetary donations using our Facebook donations page or our Donation form.
In an effort to continue to produce the Shipwatcher News newsletters as free publications, I have instituted a sponsorship program to help support upgrades to the business. The money raised will go towards covering costs for the website, materials, advertising, and technology upgrades. Last year, Shipwatcher News was able to raise over $800, and would like to exceed the funds raised before. Should they desire, donors will be recognized in the Shipwatcher News newsletters as well as on the website. New this year, Captain rank business sponsors will also get an optional ad space on the Shipwatcher News website. Please fill out this form if you feel moved to participate in the sponsorship program.