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Old 08-23-2011, 11:27 AM   #1
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Default Crossing Lake Michigan with my boat

Hi All,

I just picked up a 1989 Slickcraft 279 SC, single 454 7.4 Merc. and wanted some advise on taking it across Lake Michigan (Grand Haven to Milwaukee)

I have never made a trip like this and am just in the planning phases. I would like advise, words of wisdom, etc. Can this boat handle it? Those of you who have done this would you take this boat across with good weather?

Thanks,

-Chris

Last edited by cpelon; 08-23-2011 at 11:45 AM.
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Old 08-23-2011, 12:28 PM   #2
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does it float?
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Old 08-23-2011, 02:10 PM   #3
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Lake Michigan is about 100 miles across as I recall, or about 5-6 hours at 20 MPH. Longer if the wind picks up and conditions change. Try the Great Lakes forum on this site and you're likely to get some experienced feedback. Good luck!
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Old 08-23-2011, 03:41 PM   #4
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Crossing Lake Michigan in an old boat that you just acquired? No way would I attempt it.
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Old 08-23-2011, 03:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevenp View Post
Crossing Lake Michigan in an old boat that you just acquired? No way would I attempt it.
I concur. You need to know your boat much better before even thinking about it.

No trailer?

I'd check to see if you could trailer it onto the ferry.
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Old 08-23-2011, 03:57 PM   #6
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Got anyone at your marina, or anyone else that would like to go with you? Buddy boating would make me feel better. You both can plan the trip and you both need to agree that you both turn around if things go south.
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Old 08-23-2011, 04:10 PM   #7
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You've got to make certain she can handle the extended trip. Take her out nearshore, in different conditions, for some lengths of time. See how the systems operate, put her through her paces. Chances are, during this time, the equipment aboard that is close to crapping out will do so, and give you a chance to get things fixed without any pucker factor.

Then, with nothing coming across from Iowa into Illinois weather-wise, you should be good to go...hey, I'm from Chicago, grew up on Lake M...
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Old 08-23-2011, 04:17 PM   #8
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Like sea bob said, that 454 is capable have a mechanic look at it check the systems and plan for I would do it after all the pre-float stuff was done
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Old 08-23-2011, 04:24 PM   #9
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Bellows, fuel filters, ujoints, rot in motor mounts, transom leaks, wiring problems, water pumps, hoses, belts, batteries. Ive just named a few reasons you should not make a trip like this in a newly purchased used inboard. Murphys law, what can happen will happen. On the other hand I may be selling you short because if you are anything like me you already had all of this stuff replaced when you first picked up this boat and changed it out yourself to make sure you are farmiliar with your new craft. Good luck.
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Old 08-23-2011, 04:24 PM   #10
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Not me.

I'd pay for the trucking
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Old 08-23-2011, 04:27 PM   #11
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Not me.

I'd pay for the trucking
Aww, c'mon, CH, why not a trip across?
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Old 08-23-2011, 04:31 PM   #12
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Here's one reason:

http://www.coastwatch.msu.edu/michigan/m4.html


That above can't be right. Try this: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/greatlakes/?c=tmp&l=lm&p=a
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Old 08-23-2011, 04:38 PM   #13
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Besides the above advice of getting familiar with the boat and making sure all the systems work and are up to date regarding maintenance, you also need to think about fuel and range. GH to Milwaukee is 90 miles in the lake, plus whatever you travel in each port. What size is your gas tank and what kind of mpg to you get? I'm going to guess around 75 gallons and 2 mpg, which if correct doesn't leave you much cushion for error should the weather turn nasty.
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Old 08-23-2011, 04:44 PM   #14
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I would highly recomend a buddy system if your determined to do this. Personally, I'd run her for 1/2 a year to learn her quircks before the crossing. As mentioned, there's a huge safety factor to consider. Breaking down is more than just a nuisance in the wrong circumstances.
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Old 08-23-2011, 04:44 PM   #15
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That lake can smash a 50' yacht into kindling if a storm kicks up. Chances are you wont get caught in a storm if you watch the weather.....but...... Imagine being 40 miles off the MI coast, motor failure and the wind kicks up out of the West. It's going to get real lonely real quick.

Why do you want to cross anyway? I grew up in Benton Harbor and spent a lot of time on the lake but never had much desire to cross. There was always plenty to do on the MI side.
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Old 08-23-2011, 04:46 PM   #16
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He said he just picked it up. It's a 1989.

My assumption is it's not set up to make the trip.

That lake can turn nasty fast.

To the OP: Are you trying to get over to your home port in Wisconsin?
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Old 08-23-2011, 05:03 PM   #17
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I live and grew up on Lake Michigan just north of Grand haven. Its 87 miles from Muskegon to Milwaukee. I have made this trip before and will make it again. Matter of fact, some of the best steelhead fishing in the summer is around 25 miles out on the temp breaks. Slicks are great boats and yours is plenty big enough to cross Lake Michigan. Most of the guys fishing the Great Lakes salmon tourneys are running across the lake in boats that size. Obviously, you need to do your homework on the weather. And, ensure that your vessel is ready for the crossing. July and August is our time to enjoy this incredible freshwater ocean. Speaking of which some boys caught a 37 pound king salmon off of Manistee last night!!
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Old 08-23-2011, 05:09 PM   #18
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Don't, it would be stupid.
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Old 08-23-2011, 05:11 PM   #19
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Lake Michigan is one big puddle to cross. The only good thing, comparing it to an ocean is that if you break down, as long as you remain afloat, you will wash up on shore before too long. Oh yeah...and you can drink the water.

How fast is the fast ferry from Muskegon? Just a thought. If you can easily keep up with the fast ferry either set off ahead of the ferry & let the ferry skipper know to keep an eye out or contact with you or follow in his wake. Nice & calm back there I'll bet.
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Old 08-23-2011, 07:12 PM   #20
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This is the discussion I was looking for, thank you all for the comments/advise!

cgrand: Boat floats great! Had it in a slip for the last 6 weeks and bilge is bone dry!

seabob4: Great advise on making sure the boat is mechanically sound. I have used it for about 25 hours so far and have found a few toggle switches that need to be replaced. I had a mechanic look over the engine and stern drive and that passed inspection. Engine seems to run strong.

MIfirst: Boat has a 100 gallon fuel tank. Not sure yet what my MPG is? Anyone have any idea on this boat/enigne?

CC driver: Thanks for the heads up on the Great Lakes forum as well.

Overall, I am glad to hear that this boat (in good condition) can be capable of making a trip like this.
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