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Sault Ste Marie's Blog

Finding Freighters in Sault Ste. Marie, MI

Posted on May 2nd, 2017

 Now that the Soo Locks Visitor Center (SLVC) is closed for the season, how do you know when there’s a boat approaching the Locks,? With the help of my secret cheat sheet and Marinetraffic.com, you’ll be finding boats like a pro!
Soo Locks at Night by Mikel Classen

The SLVC opens on Mother’s Day, and stays open until Mid-October. They provide visitors with estimated arrival times for freighters, great information about the shipping industry, and family friendly fun. When the SLVC closes, we rely heavily on the Marinetraffic.com web page to determine when a freighter might arrive at the Soo Locks.
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To provide information on boats all over the world, Marinetraffic.com uses the onboard satellite trackers that are equipped on most boats. Marientraffic.com basic is free, but there are paid options. For the die-hard boat enthusiast, there is a smartphone app with a one-time charge ranging from $3.99-$5.99 depending on your phone. We’re going to focus on the features of the webpage, not the app, but they are similar.
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Visit Marientraffic.com, locate the body of water you want to watch, and start finding boats! It’s really that easy. Zoom in and out to see the different shapes more clearly. Rest your mouse over an item for a short description of the boat, and click on the shape for more information. All shapes provide information, but green shapes are boats.
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Each boat has an information card that tells up how fast the boat is going, its forecasted route, and vessel details.

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This is all great information, but many people wonder about what time boats will arrive at the Soo Locks. Here is where our secret cheat sheet comes in handy to help you estimate arrival times. Remember this is only an estimation.
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Traveling to the Soo and don’t have a computer? We have one more secret for estimating arrival times for the Soo Locks, call us. The Sault Convention and Visitors Bureau office is open Monday -Friday 8am-5pm and we’ll do the work for you! You can reach us at 906-632-3366. The MarienTraffic web page and app are tons of fun, but during the spring and summer you can always take a  shortcut and call the hotline recording at 906-253-9290.