Great Lakes Historic Low Water Levels 2012

I got a voicemail early Monday morning from Hoy’s Saginaw Bay Marina in Caseville, “Mike, the wind was really blowing last night and we would like to get your sailboat out. It’s bouncing on the bottom.”  It was the last week in September and we usually try to squeeze one or two of the last day-sails in early October. However, I had been monitoring the Great Lakes low water levels and knew that we had a good chance of seeing a record low last seen in 1964.

The Great Lakes low water levels in 2012 really started to appear in late summer. With a four foot draft, we had already settled in the thick muck in our slip in August. I imagined our Catalina 27 hung fast and listing in the shallows. We called back, and Pete told me that they were looking to get all the sailboats out. I told him to go ahead and pull her out. I would see him at the weekend.

Caseville Harbor

Caseville Harbor Low Water 2013

Pulling into the marina Melissa and I was shocked to see the boatyard full of boats on the hard dock in late September. Over the week the Hoy’s crew managed to get all of the big Trawlers out and most of the “Sticks”. (Sailboats)  When we rolled in, there were two boats idling in what was left of the narrow channel waiting to be hauled out. We took a walk up toward the break wall of Caseville harbor and noticed the innermost red can channel buoy hard aground just outside the Huron Yacht Club. This is the mark where I drop our speed in order to not make a wake as we enter the inner harbor. We took shots around the break wall and back just outside the HYC which you can see here.

Official Account of Great Lakes Water Levels

In October of 2012 the US Army Corps of Engineers noted that Lake Michigan-Huron is 12 inches lower than its level of a year ago. Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are down 14, 15, and 10 inches, respectively, lower than their levels of a year ago. Over the next month, Lake Superior is forecasted to drop another 1 inch from its current level. Lake Michigan-Huron is expected to fall another 2 inches. The Corps noted that as of now Lake Superior and Lake Michigan-Huron are below chart datum. They are in record low territory. At this point, we are wondering if we will be able to get “Trillium” back into the water next Spring.

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