Photo Gallery Friday: Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum
Visitors to Mackinaw City have a unique opportunity to tour a retired U.S. Coast Guard cutter that was in service on the Great Lakes for more than 60 years. The USCGC Mackinaw (WABG-83) has been docked in its present location since it was retired from service in 2006, and is now open to visitors as the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum. A Michigan historical marker near the ticket booth on Huron St. gives a bit more information on the career of this 290 foot long ship: “Built in 1944 at a cost of $10 million, U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw had six ten-cylinder engines that enabled it to cut through several feet of lake ice. The powerful steel icebreaker was commissioned during World War II to aid year-round navigation so freighters could carry raw materials for war production. For sixty-two years Mackinaw left its home port of Cheboygan to open or extend the navigation season, clear the shipping lanes, or free vessels that were stuck in the ice. Mackinaw was unsurpassed in size and capability among icebreakers.”
Exhibits on board the ship detail the Mackinaw‘s service history, complete with artifacts, photos, and more. You’ll visit the kitchen, dining area, office and crew quarters, engine room, sick bay, meeting rooms, and the ship’s store (where you can buy Mackinaw souvenirs). The Mackinaw (WAGB-83) was replaced by the Mackinaw (WLBB-30), a smaller vessel that is based in Cheboygan and performs many of the same duties.
Located in the heart of waterfront activity near downtown, the Mackinaw museum is reasonably priced and fin for the entire family. We had a chance to visit in June of 2018 and have put together this post from our visit. You can find more information about the museum at https://www.themackinaw.org/. The driveway and parking area for the Icebreaker Maritime Museum is located on Huron St. across from the Mackinaw Crossing shopping mall.
To see some of other photo galleries centered around Michigan maritime history:
USS Silversides Museum, Muskegon
HURON Lightship Museum, Port Huron