Lake Michigan

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WorldNorthern AmericaUnited StatesCanadaGreat LakesLake Michigan
Lake Michigan
44°09.987'N, 086°54.111'W Chart icon.png
lat=44.166445 | lon=-86.901855 | zoom=6 | y

History and Background

Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of North America, and the only one located entirely within the United States. It is bounded, from west to east, by the U.S. states of Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan. The word "Michigan" was originally used to refer to the lake itself, and is believed to come from the Ojibwa Indian word mishigami, meaning "great water."

Many small cities in Northern Michigan are centered on a tourist base that takes advantage of the beauty and recreational opportunities offered by Lake Michigan. These cities have large seasonal populations that arrive from nearby urban areas such as the Chicago, Milwaukee and Detroit areas, as well as from humid southern states such as Florida and Texas. Some seasonal residents have summer homes along the lake shore, and return home for the winter. The southern tip of the lake is heavily industrialized.

The beaches of the western coast and the northernmost part of the east coast are rocky, while the southern and eastern beaches are sandy and dune-covered. This is partly because of the prevailing winds from the west which also cause thick layers of ice to build up on the eastern shore in winter.

Submit details about the cruising here, etc.


  • NOAA - for free downloads of ENC charts of Lake Michigan


Also see Cruiser's Nets

Submit details of local radio Nets.


Describe seasonal weather conditions, etc.

  • Lake Michigan freezes in the winter...

Sources for weather forecasts:

Navigation Notes


Search and Rescue

Lake Michigan is the only "Great Lake" that does not share an international border with Canada. As a result Search and Rescue is the responsibility of the United States Coast Guard 9th District. USCG Website

The USCG monitors VHF Channel 16 for distress calls. In addition, they may ask you to switch to VHF Channel 22A (this is the US VHF Channel, not the Canadian or International Channel.) They will also receive notice of EPRIB signals that resolve to Lake Michigan and respond.

Ports and Popular Stops

The East side of Lake Michigan (the Michigan side) is much more friendly to cruisers than the West (Illinois and Wisconsin) side. Both have excellent marina facilities and interesting destinations. The West side however is primarily man made ports. The Michigan side has several rivers that lead into large sheltered inland lakes. The lakes tend to be much warmer than Lake Michigan and are also much more protected from the wind.

  • Chicago (the "Windy City"). With all the marinas under the control of the Chicago Port District and a world class international city at your disposal Chicago, located at the Southwest corner of the lake is a must see.
  • Milwaukee. Milwaukee hosts a themed festival every weekend of the summer. McKinley Marina is within an easy walk of the festival grounds.

Marinas & Yacht Clubs

See each Port/Stop above.


List details of all safe anchorages in the area.

Offshore Islands

Routes/Passages/Circuits To/From

Popular passages/routes, timing, etc.

Tourism & things to do ashore

See each Port/Stop above.

Marine stores

See each Port/Stop above.



Contact details of "Cruiser's Friends" that can be contacted for local information or assistance.


List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)


Links to relevant websites.


We welcome users' contributions to the Wiki. Please click on Comments to view other users' comments, add your own personal experiences or recommend any changes to this page following your visit.

  • There are many bloggers who are based in Lake Michigan and provide local commentary. You might try: Reboot Racing

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