Preceding pages: An enormous new ship, the Stewart J. Cort, 58,000 tons gross, making her first passage through the Detroit River a few years ago en route from Lake Erie, where she was built, to Lake Superior where she would receive her first cargo. This ship measures 1,000 feet in length by 105 feet in beam. Her diesel engines drive her at 16 miles per hour. Currently there are 198 ships under the U. S. flag plying the Great Lakes. Almost all of them are dry bulk carriers.
Large ships by the hundred, long wakes marking their passage, carry millions of tons of raw materials every year between one port in North America and another.
These are the Great Lakes freighters of the United States and Canada. They are slow ships, most of them. They have little sheer and no flare. The waters they travel can be deep, though not by oceanic standards, and often they are exceedingly shallow. Frequently the channels are narrow for long distances and the water, if not always drinkable, is never salt.