Christmas Ship Sails Again
Fri, 01 Dec 2017 06:02:17 EST
The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw, which is home ported in Cheboygan, are once again reenacting a tradition dating back to the late 1800s.
The Mackinaw, serving once again as this year’s “Christmas Ship” and loaded with more than 1,200 Christmas trees, is scheduled to return to Chicago today (Friday). Trees are purchased for needy families, loaded on the Mackinaw and transported to Navy Pier for a two-day event.
The tradition honors a Chicago Captain of the original Christmas Ship that brought fresh evergreens and wreaths for the holiday season during the late 1800s and early 1900’s. But the vessel Rouse Simmons was lost in a November storm on Lake Michigan in 1912.
During the transit to Chicago, the crew of the Mackinaw held a solemn tribute and dropped a wreath into the waters near the resting place of the Rouse Simmons, which was located in 1971.
The Mackinaw, which was commissioned in June 2006, transports the trees in conjunction with a scheduled seasonal buoy removal program.
Tree Loading on the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw (WATZ archive)