First Ship ready to go through locks tomorrow

First ship waiting outside Sault Ste. Marie Michigan to use the locks. (Brian Chapman\Facebook)

The Joyce L. Venenkevort appears to be poised to be the first ship through the Sault Locks tomorrow when they open at noon.

Headed to Marquette, Michigan according to, it is currently anchored on the far side of the river.

The US Army Corp of Engineers were able to get the locks open just a little sooner according to their Chief of Maintenance, LeighAnn Ryckeghem.

“We started out pretty aggressive in our maintenance period,” said Ryckeghem.  So we go six days a week, 10 hours a day, with highly skilled trades that are very productive. We start out strategically like that to accelerate our schedules and ensure that we can get as much done as possible.”

She said they got some extra help along the way in the form of a mild Winter.

Even though it is only 12 hours early, Ryckeghem says they may beat the 7,000 ship yearly average which transit the lock system.

SaultOnline is speaking with people involved in the industry this week and we look forward to bringing you more information on the Great Lakes Seaway over the months to come.