Coast Guard Cutters offer tours during Coast Guard Festival

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. – The U.S. Coast Guard Cutters Mackinaw and Bristol Bay will make their official entrance into the Grand River Monday, July 27, marking the beginning of a busy and exciting week at the 2009 Coast Guard Festival.

The parade of ships will begin at 1:00 p.m., Monday. Ships will moor at designated spots along Escanaba Park, adjacent to the Coast Guard station.

The 240-foot Mackinaw (WLBB-30), arriving from Cheboygan, Mich., is a one-of-a-kind icebreaker and buoy tender that replaced the WW II-era Mackinaw (WAGB-83). Her primary missions are: Maritime Homeland Security, Ice Breaking, Aids to Navigation, Law Enforcement, Marine Environmental Protection and Search and Rescue.

The Bristol Bay (WTGB-102), arriving from Detroit, Mich., is a 140-foot icebreaking tug. Bay-class tugs are designed to continuously break at least 20 inches of hard, freshwater ice. The ships can break more than three feet of ice by backing and ramming. In August 1991, Bristol Bay became the first Bay-Class tug to receive a barge specially-designed to perform aids-to-navigation work. The 120-foot long barge works with the ship to service more than 160 aids to navigation each year.

Each of the ships will be available for public tours, at a variety of times, from Monday, July 27 through Saturday, August 1.

The Coast Guard is committed to making the public’s experience on board these cutters a pleasant one and asks for everyone’s cooperation and patience with the following simple safety and security requirements:

1. Though the tour will show off many spaces, some spaces will be off-limits.

2. Neither backpacks, coolers and bags of any type, nor open food/drink will be permitted on board. Searches may be conducted.

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