Michigan House approves request for Straits of Mackinac federal designation

Ships passing through would need an experienced pilot aboard if the federal government approves
Camera #3 from Bridge View Park in St. Ignace looking south at the Mackinac Bridge. (
Camera #3 from Bridge View Park in St. Ignace looking south at the Mackinac Bridge. ( Bridge Authority)
Published: Oct. 13, 2020 at 4:19 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Foreign commercial ships traversing the Straits of Mackinac would be required to get special help under a resolution approved by the Michigan House on Tuesday.

The resolution asks Congress and President Donald Trump to declare the Straits designated waters, which would require an experienced American or Canadian pilot aboard each foreign ship to direct navigation through the challenging stretch of water where Lake Michigan and Lake Huron meet.

“It seems like common-sense, with thousands of ships crossing this area every year and so many people relying on the Great Lakes for drinking water, to make sure they are best protected," said Republican State Rep. Jack O’Malley, who sponsored the legislation.

He pointed out that the Straits are relatively narrow with restricted visibility in some places and home to important infrastructure, such as the Mackinac Bridge and underwater pipelines.

The Western Great Lakes Pilots Association supports the resolution. It will be forwarded to the White House, U.S. Senate, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Michigan’s congressional delegation and the U.S. Coast Guard commandant for consideration.

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