Apr 12-05

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2005: April: Apr 12-05
Mackinaw (WLBB-30)    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Donn de Yampert
Launch begins    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Donn de Yampert
Making a splash    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Donn de Yampert
Settling in    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Donn de Yampert

Mary Drew at Pasty Central on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 06:12 am:

Recently, the Mackinaw (WLBB-30) was launched into the Menominee River to be put into service. It was accomplished in a dramatic side launch, which always gives spectators a thrill seeing the splash as the ship slides into the water. Donn de Yampert was on hand to document the day, on the southern outskirts of the U.P. near Menominee. The actual keel laying and ceremony was just across the border at the Marinette Marine Corporation and if you're interested in some specs on this ice-breaker, you can find them on this U.S.C.G. link. This ship is scheduled to be delivered to the U.S. Coast Guard on October 15th, 2005 and will be replacing the 60 year old Mackinaw (WAGB-83), which is purported to have never missed a winter of work on the Great Lakes since it was launched in 1944. The series of shots Donn sent us, gives you the feel of being right there, with the tilt of the ship, the start of the water pushing out, the almost submergence of her hull and finally the mist of the after-splash. Dramatic indeed!

By smf in troll land on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 06:17 am:

Wow - almost looks like it's going to tip over - great shots!

By NKR Mishawaka IN on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 06:28 am:

Good morning from Mishawaka IN. How exciting! Great pictures Donn. I would have liked to have been there but with your pictures, its like I was there. Thanks.

By Margaret, Amarillo TX on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 06:46 am:

Cool! We don't have anything water immersible down here.

By Sharyn on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 06:50 am:

Wow!! I'd have loved to have witnessed that, spray and all! Wow!!

By ra on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 06:54 am:

What’s the difference between a boat and a ship?

By galpal, MI on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 06:56 am:

Astounding! Just got back from out west. Sure did miss the Pasty cam I look at each day. Best place on the Internet!

By dan, Laurium on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 07:13 am:

according to "ask jeeves.com",: ships have to be big enough to carry boats, and boats have to be small enough to be carried by ships, but there are exceptions...,

By MG, Michigan on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 07:26 am:

Ships go in salt water, Boats go in fresh water.

By julie b., MI on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 07:34 am:

Our Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association {GLLKA} had a group who left Mackinaw City and drove over just to go see the launch. Understand it was spectacular - just as you described! Wish i could have gone! Thanks for the great pictures of it!

Glad they decided to 're-use' the name, because tho time & technology have marched on, the good which the old Mackinaw has done over her years of service are honored in this way.

By Sarah, Stuck in Ohio on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 07:51 am:

Great pictures Donn! Thanks for capturing those shots for us!

By rob in dc on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 08:22 am:

For videos of the launch go to boatnerd.com. While there, check out stills of the "azipods," the two completely rotating propeller housings that give this ship the ultimate in manuverability. Just the thing for tending buoys, the Mackinaw's other principal mission.

By Kathy from Whitmore Lake/Cheboygan on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 08:33 am:

The old Mackinaw's home port was Cheboygan, so I saw it alot over the years & even went on board once or twice. It used to be white with a red stripe but got a color change to red with a white stripe a few years ago. The new one seems to have a higher superstructure. Anybody got a picture of the old Mackinaw that could be posted for comparison?

By JOHN AND ANNE KENTUCKY on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 08:36 am:

To answer the question about ship vs boat,the above responses were somewhat correct. The only place in the world that large maritime vessels are called boats is in the great lakes,as in the large ore boats. To be safe you can call them a vessel,and sound like you know what you are talking about.

By Sarah, Central WI on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 08:40 am:

Neat shots! I can almost hear the splash of the water!

By troll with connections, Mi on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 08:56 am:

Sure wouldn't want to be standing on the opposite shoreline on the river when that wave hit. Is this ship going to stay in the lower Great Lakes, or head up to Lake Superior?

By Carol, Coopersville MI on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 09:19 am:

These are some great shots! Thanks for sharing them with us.

By Mel, Kansas on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 09:20 am:

Reference photos of the 'old' Mack:

From the Duluth Shipping News page: Mackinaw

By danbury on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 09:21 am:

www.duluthshippingnews.com has a video, too. Also, there one can scroll down on the left to find pictures of the old Mackinaw.

By Doug, IN on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 09:55 am:

One more exception to the boat vs. ship rule. Submarines are boats even though they rarely travel in the Great Lakes and are generally too large to fit on a ship.

By Jack in CT on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 10:01 am:

Well during my time in the Navy we called submarines boats and the targets - oops! - I mean surface vessels ships.
I guess most submarines could be called small but there are some that are nearly 600 feet long and 17,000 tons of displacement.
I think it's just a bit of slang brought over from early last century when the German U-Boats caught everyone's attention during the First World War.
Of course the little surface craft, like Boston Whalers and inflatables were also called boats.

By joe on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 10:40 am:

I just returned from the upper and cheybogan and have some pictures of the old ship mackinaw in my gallery.

Retiring Mackinaw

DH, Temecula, CA on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 11:24 am:

Just saw a documentary about he building of a Navy destroyer and they had a discussion about how the slide into the water is becoming less common. They built this ship over some railroad tracks, jacked it onto some heavy duty wheeled things and pushed it into a dry dock. The drydock was then flooded over 12 hours, or so. Not very dramatic, but much safer. There have been ships damaged during the launch process. Didn't the Titanic get away from its handlers while it was launched or did some other ship damage the Titanic?

By Lee, Michigan native-lost in NY on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 11:26 am:

I am afraid I like the design of the old
Mackinaw better.

By dm hace, houghton on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 11:33 am:

Nice camera work!! Thanks for allowing us to "be right there!" Always enjoying your pictures Donn.

By SDC, Ferndale, MI on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 11:46 am:

DH, Temecula, CA
I'm not sure about the Titanic getting away from its handlers but I'm pretty sure the Edmund Fitzgerald did, if I'm not mistaken. I've heard thats a bad omen when something like that happens, sad but true.

By Carmen, Houghton, MI on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 12:06 pm:

My brother served on the "mighty mac" from mid 80-s to early 90's and he had some wonderful memories of being on board. He passed away 7 years ago and I really hate to see the ship be torn down and sold for scrap. Has anyone heard any info on her being bought for a floating museum? Last I heard Cheboygan might not be able to afford her upkeep. Any info will be appreciated!

By Kathy from Whitmore Lake/Cheboygan on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 12:18 pm:

Thanks Mel from Kansas, danbury, and Joe. Joe, I know exactly where you were standing when you took the picture. That boat launch and the marina next door are favorite spots of mine to check out other people's boats.

Lee, I agree. But probably the buoy tending function of the new one dictated the differences in the hull.

By danbury, wondering on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 12:24 pm:

And one more question: are there people on board? If so, they sure have one ... of a ride.

By vaalea on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 12:31 pm:

There is an article about the new Suomi inspired boat at Finnishamericanreporter.com

By Lowell MO. on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 12:39 pm:

According to what I read: Duluth is also trying to get the old Mackinaw.

By mrsrock630 on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 12:41 pm:

My Dad worked for Burger Boat in Manitowoc. We watched their, at that time, largest yacht launch. They did a sideways because she was so long. There were two men on board to record the angle she went in as reference for when and if they had to do another side launch. Needless to say, not all went as planned. Some of the grease boards came back up at the ship right where they were standing and holding onto the rail. Both let go and slid along the cabin. Lucky they did. The yacht sustained some damage but they did learn the angles. It was one of the most beautiful things to see.

By HEIKKI on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 01:15 pm:

The construction building in the background was built in the early 80's, and has ventilation ducts in the floor for venting gases produced by fiberglass fabrication processes. MMC built several minesweepers (among many, many other small craft and ships) for the USN over the years. This ship was most likely transported from the construction building to the launchway by transporters known as "walking beams". At the time (1980's), I believe they cost circa $1,000,000, and were manufactured in Norway (the country). Originally, they were purchased to support the USN minesweeper (MCM's) program. As these photos depict, side launchs are always spectacular. Both MMC and PBI (Peterson Builders, Inc of Sturgeon Bay) launched ships in this manner.

By Steve in Iowa on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 01:16 pm:

To danbury wondering,

It looks like there is at least one person on board. I believe you can see his silhouette in the pilot house window just to the left of center. Must be a heck of a ride.

By HEIKKI on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 01:30 pm:

Kathy from Whitmore Lake,
Next time you're at the marina next door, please tell the owner, Jon Kukuk, that John Heikkila said "Hi". I got to know him well on the USN's minesweeper program. He was MMC's QA manager at the time, and I his counterpart with the USN.

By Kevin K. Lodi, CA. on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 02:11 pm:


Thanks for the link to the video of the launching.
It is both awesome and funny. Gave me my laugh for the day.

By RCW on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 02:21 pm:

Joe, I couldn't find any photos of the Mac in your Gallery? Lots of other nice ones however.

By joe on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 02:55 pm:

Hello RCW !! Look in the first album title April 05 cheybogan and the upper locks. Its the first picture on my photo album.Double click on the picture of the macinaw bridge to open the album


Try this link:
Joe's album

By danbury on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 03:25 pm:

Glad to help, Kevin - at least with the address. I have no idea where that link came from - must have been Mary Drew. ..or perhaps the website genie! ;-)
As to the video - guess I have to try again, 'cause by now, I wasn't able to watch it.

By RCW on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 03:57 pm:

Thanks Joe. Should have looked closer,I didn't note that was an Album. More nice photos I must say.

By Joe on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 05:10 pm:

Thanks You RCW.

By ed---grand rapids mi on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 05:57 pm:

Great pictures of the ship launch of the new coast guard ship. I will miss the old MAC. My family and I have seen it many times. I hope that someone saves it from the scrap heap. i think that if the word got out about it's demise there would be many people who would donate money to keep it alive. I hope some city steps forward to take on the task and makes a museum out of it.

By copper country resident on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 06:33 pm:

The new Mackinaw is a great looking ship!

By JAD, Oskar, MI on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 06:47 pm:

Marinette Marine also built a couple of Staten Island Ferries. 4 stories high. I took pictures a couple of years ago (sorry, not digital) & got a big kick out of the idea that the good old Menominee River was the birthplace of those N.Y ferries. By the way, Marinette Marine is a half mile or more from the mouth of the river!

By darrell oinas/Saint Johns Michigan on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 07:53 pm:

I wonder who designed the ships hull as my dad would build scale models out of wood and they would test them in a water tank that could simulate the action of any water condition, the models were 20 to 30 feet long and they would hook up all the electronic gear to record the results, The U OF M does that sort of thing and if the tests pass with flying colors you just might see that ship built. Very exacting work on making the models and very facinating process they put them through, if you are ever in Ann Arbor michigan I sugest you nose around the department of navel architecture as they do give tours. To bad for miss Michigan last night, I thought the thing was Rigged, She deserved to win.

By Chuck, IL on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 08:10 pm:

I don't like the looks of the "New" Mackinaw. I was raised in Esky, watching every spring for the arrival of the "Old" Mackinaw and really think that she had more graceful lines. Then I scrolled down and saw the recent photo of her dressed in "Orange"! Wha? They might as well send her to the scrap yard than let her be seen dressed like that!

By Punster on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 08:15 pm:

darrell oinas/Saint Johns Michigan
"...if you are ever in Ann Arbor michigan I sugest you nose around the department of navel architecture as they do give tours."

The tours include both "innies" and "outies", I presume?

By darrell on Wednesday, April 13, 2005 - 04:23 am:

Make that naval

By Ahmeek Cliff Dweller on Wednesday, April 13, 2005 - 10:08 am:

Great photos, Donn, I can almost hear the crowd applauding the successful launch. Thanks for sharing!

By Becky, Wisconsin on Saturday, April 16, 2005 - 08:41 pm:

I live in Marinette and am privileged to see many boat launchings at Marinette Marine. And believe me it is a sight to see. I would encourage anyone to get to either Menominee, MI or Marinette, WI to see a boat launching. I had the opportunity to see the first of the Staten Island Ferries be launched. Pretty cool.

By Wayne Wis on Wednesday, May 18, 2005 - 09:14 pm:

Submarines are Boats and anything else that floats
are targets. Subvet......

By Thomas Baird (Thomas) on Sunday, September 13, 2009 - 06:10 pm:

Good photos. I was in the Coast Guard Auxiliary, and the Coast Guard is my favorite branch of the U.S. Armed Forces.

By Joseph J Shimandle (Jjsjjsva) on Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 10:49 pm:

Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia use to launch the nuclear powered attack subs backwards down an inclined ramp called a shipway. The subs were assembled and out fitted on an incline ramp such that you had to use a specially made 'level' to ensure every thing would be plumb when floating horizontally. You couldn't see much of the sub when it was launched if you were in the grand stands on land, but if you were in a boat out in The James river it looked as if the backwards sliding sub was going to completely disappear underwater- but they never did.

Now NNS builds the latest attack subs horizontally in an enclosed facility on railcars and they push the sub onto a floating dry dock which lowers into the water to launch the sub.

The nuclear aircraft carriers are assembled in a dry dock and floated out using tugs. Not real exciting to watch because it's a tight fit between the dry dock walls so they pull it out very slowly.

Powered by:  
Join Today!
Each day the Pasty Cam has 2 areas to post messages: 
  • Cam Notes - comments related to today's picture and discussion
  • What'sUP - other topics, conversation and announcements
  • *** Please use the appropriate forum ***
    Here's a list of messages posted in the past 24 hours
    See our guest photo gallery for more great views from the U.P.

    Add a Message

    A user/password combination is now required to post messages to Cam Notes. Registration is free. Click here to register or maintain your I.D.

    Home | Pasty Cam | Contest | Order Now | Bridge Cam | Past-E-Mail | GP Hall of Fame | Making Pasties | Questions