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Ships of the Great Lakes: An Inside Look at the World's Largest Inland Fleet    by Patrick Lapinski order for
Ships of the Great Lakes
by Patrick Lapinski
Order:  USA  Can
Iconografix, 2011 (2011)
* * *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Anyone who loves ships will find this pictorial of the vessels found on the Great Lakes fascinating. Patrick Lapinski offers page after page of color photos that detail these giant ore, coal and grain carriers.

The author begins with a look at examples of both the American and Canadian fleets. The photos and accompanying short, descriptive paragraphs show the functionality and efficiency of the ships at work and the markets in which they trade.

You'll see the Indiana Harbor which has set records for the largest shipments of iron ore as well as coal and limestone. Another 1,000 footer is the Paul R. Tregurtha which, at 1,013 feet in length, is the reigning Queen of the Lakes.

Other interesting vessels include the integrated tug-barge Presque Isle and the Seaway class bulker Canadian Provider which is known in Canadian lakes' vernacular as a flat back.

The photos show the bulk carriers in all sorts of weather, from winter ice to summer cruises, and they fly the flags of the major Great Lakes shipping companies.

After seeing representatives of the fleet, the author takes his reader below deck to visit the engine department in the next chapter. From the control room to the engine department and the ballast pumps to the huge propellers that drive the ships, an inside and up-close view of this aspect of the ship is shown.

This is followed by a chapter on the navigation systems and three chapters that chart the ships at work. These sections focus on loading, the trip, and unloading. The closing section delves into the galley.

'Education and knowledge are highly prized attributes of today's mariners,' writes Lapinski. 'The majority of sailors today are graduates of maritime academies. They are highly educated in the hard skills of sailing; navigation, electronics and engineering.'

In this highly informative volume the author highlights these mariners' work place and the special vessels that ply the Great Lakes. It is a sector of the transportation field like no other and one that is still viable and very important.

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