Photo by Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum

Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum

Built in the World War II years to haul heavy materials during the winter months, the Icebreaker Mackinaw stayed in service for 62 years. When she was decommissioned, she moved to her namesake community- Mackinaw City.

Commissioned 10 days after Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw WAGB-83 was built in Toledo, Ohio at a cost of $10 million. She was launched in 1944 and served from Cheboygan, Michigan.

With a length of 290 feet and a beam of 74 feet, four inches, the Mackinaw is the largest icebreaker serving the Great Lakes. When the Mackinaw was commissioned, she was the most powerful icebreaker in the world. Her unique icebreaking capabilities had her working every December through April to keep the Great Lakes shipping channels open.

She was built wider and longer than other vessels which was effective in her efforts but her width prohibited her from entering the Welland Canal leading into the ocean so the Mackinaw never left the Great Lakes.

Now a maritime museum, the Mackinaw offers tours of the engine room, captain’s quarters, ward room, bridge, and mess while learning about the ship’s long career. The Ship’s Store includes Mackinaw items and Great Lakes icebreaking information. Located on the Eastern end of the old rail dock in downtown Mackinaw City, the Mackinaw is open for visitors from June to December.

The Mackinaw welcomes the community to an open house the second Saturday in June. Fireworks and a celebration take place on July 4th and throughout the summer, Music on the Mack brings musicians on board. Explore the Mackinaw!

For more information on the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum:

131 S. Huron Ave., Mackinaw City, MI, 49701

(231) 436-9825

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