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Sault Ste Marie's Blog

Finding Freighters in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

Posted on May 1st, 2018

The Soo Locks Visitor Center (SLVC) opens for the season on May 13, 2018, and will be open for our enjoyment from 9 am-9 pm until mid-October. You can call the SLVC hotline at 906-253-9290 for an estimated freighter schedule for boats that are three hours out from the Soo Locks, but what if you want to know further than three hours out (yes, they do update throughout the day)? With the help of our cheat sheet and Marinetraffic.com, you’ll be finding boats like a pro!
Soo Locks at Night by Mikel Classen

When the SLVC closes mid-October to mid-May, 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 most boats are equipped with. Marientraffic.com basic is free, but there are paid options. For the die-hard boat enthusiasts, 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 web-page, not the app, but they are similar.
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Visit Marinetraffic.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 you 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 what time the boats will arrive at the Soo Locks. Here is where our cheat sheet comes in handy to help you estimate arrival times. Remember this is only an estimation.
Finding Freighters Map

Traveling to the Soo and don’t have a computer? We have a secret method for estimating arrival times at the Soo Locks: call us. The Sault Convention and Visitors Bureau‘s office is open Monday -Friday from 8 am-5 pm and we’ll do the work for you! You can reach us at 906-632-3366. The Marinetraffic.com web page and app are tons of fun, but during the spring and summer, you can always take a  shortcut and call the SLVC hotline recording at 906-253-9290.