It also lets festival attendees get an up-close and personal look at life on the water with daily tours of several Coast Guard cutters.
This year’s fleet of ships — U.S. Coast Guard cutters Mackinaw, Alder, Bristol Bay and Biscayne Bay, and the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Constable Carrière — arrived in Grand Haven on Monday during the annual Parade of Ships. They are now docked at the waterfront near Escanaba Park for daily public tours.
Among those visiting the ships Thursday morning were Mickey DeJohn of Ferrysburg and her daughters: Mayven, 4, and Marley, 3 months. DeJohn said she was enjoying the visit to the ships, as was her oldest daughter.
“I’ve come here every year since I was her age, and it’s nice to be able to carry on that tradition,” DeJohn said.
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DeJohn noted that the visit offered Mayven a glimpse into what kinds of opportunities are available to women once she gets older.
“It actually inspired my daughter to check out more about the Coast Guard,” she said. “She is very interested in it now.”
The family had just stepped off the guided tour of the Alder, which had a female crew member serving as a tour guide.
“I think having a female tour guide really helped inspire her a little bit more,” she said. “And speaking to her about her career path was really interesting.”
If you haven’t had a chance to check out the Coast Guard ships, you still have time. The ships are here through Saturday.
The schedule for the ship tours today and Saturday is 10 a.m. to noon, 1-3 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. The Mackinaw will be closed all day today for private events, but will reopen for tours at 10 a.m. Saturday.
The tours are free, but the schedules are subject to change.