Boat Longevity in Cold Fresh Water

A conversation among Whalers
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Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:25 pm
Location: Michigan, Lower Peninsula

Boat Longevity in Cold Fresh Water

Postby jimh » Mon Oct 19, 2015 1:02 pm

Many people consider the Great Lakes region the best area to hunt for older models of Boston Whaler boats that are still in excellent condition. The colder freshwater of the Great Lakes and the seasonal boating contribute to increased longevity for boats used there. But even the oldest Boston Whaler boat can only be about 55-years-old. That is only half the life span of what, until just a week ago, was the oldest freighter on the Great Lakes.

The freighter J. B. FORD was launched into service in 1903. She was finally declared too old to be of use and was sent to the scrap yard in Duluth on October 9, 2015, after 111-years of operation. She was actually navigating the Great Lakes under her own power until 1985 using her original steam reciprocating engine. Since then the FORD has still been afloat but not underway, serving as a dockside cement storage vessel or in layup. However, it is claimed her propulsion gear was in good condition and she could have gotten underway, if desired.

For more on the 111-career of the J. B. FORD see:

MLIVE.COM article

We'll have to wait another 55-years to see a 111-year-old Boston Whaler.

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Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 2:52 pm
Location: Suttons Bay, MI

Re: Boat Longevity in Cold Fresh Water

Postby ConB » Mon Oct 19, 2015 7:07 pm

One of my favorites was the St. Mary's Challenger. Built in 1906 she was 3 years younger but still delivering cement until 2013 when she was made into a barge. When the Challenger turned a 100 years old the comments were made that the Titanic would have been a few years younger.
It was nice to occasionally see the Challenger in my home bay waiting to go the Charlevoix to load cement.

!987 Outrage 18 / 1987 150 hp Johnson & 1969 13 / 30hp Johnson tiller

K Albus
Posts: 37
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 1:32 pm
Location: White Lake, Michigan

Re: Boat Longevity in Cold Fresh Water

Postby K Albus » Mon Oct 19, 2015 11:47 pm

Con - I actually saw the St. Mary's Challenger underway near the St. Mary's Cement Plant, at the farthest inland reach of the dredged portion of the Kinnickinnic River, when I made my crossing of Lake Michigan from Grand Haven to Milwaukee in June 2013. The channel was barely wider than the ship. The attached photo was taken just before the ship got underway.
St Mary's Challenger.jpg
St Mary's Challenger.jpg (192.21 KiB) Viewed 3889 times