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Transportation & Infrastructure

After fishing boat forces freighters into game of chicken, Great Lakes pilots call for caution

Freighter on the Saginaw River
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Two freighters on the St. Clair River got spooked by a recereational fishing boat that wouldn't get out of the way.

Recently, a recreational fishing boat on the St. Clair River forced two freighters into a game of chicken by refusing to move out of their path at a point on the river near the Bluewater Bridge in Port Huron.

The first freighter sounded a warning and the fishing boat didn’t move, and the freighter managed to veer out of the way. When a second freighter came along about a half-hour late, the fishing boat headed straight for it.

George Haynes is the vice president of the Lakes Pilots Association. He says there’s always close encounters with small vessels in the water, but this case was exceptional.

“The fisherman was very defiant and stubborn, and in some sense, seemed to be doing this on purpose...don’t know why. He shouldn’t have done that," said Haynes.

Haynes says the freighters are so large they’re difficult to turn, and even harder to slow down.

Haynes said the Lakes Pilots Association called for a meeting on Tuesday, which was well-attended by mariners, sport fishermen and local authorities.

“And basically, we discussed solutions on how to better educate boaters and fishermen of the laws that govern the waterways,” Haynes said.

Listen to the entire conversation with George Haynes, vice president of the Lakes Pilots Association, above. 

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