I didn't want to retire.  I wasn't ready to retire...  But I have to admit - the thought of being home on dry land everyday is exciting for me.  I can think of so many things I want to do.  And, I had to retire, because I couldn't get a fit-for-duty-slip to return to work.

On April 3, 2014, when the Deck Department of the M/V Indiana Harbor was scheduled to return for spring fit-out, I went on Officer's Sick Leave and I haven't been back to work since.

My Little Jack Russell Terrier, EliNow, I've got to admit that the idea of NEVER working aboard ship again is sad for me, in a way...  But, the thought of being home with my loving wife Linda, immediate family and my trusty dog Eli every day is an exhilarating concept.

I've been home almost 10 straight months and I'm feeling more "normal" everyday.  I can tell that Linda "likes" having me home and that means ALOT to me.  The "rest" of my clan is happy I'll be home too - and Eli (my furry little buddy), will probably be with me almost every single day...  I REALLY like that!

ASC And AMO Are Great Organizations

The American Steamship Company Human Resources Department and The American Maritime Officers Benefit Plans Department have BOTH helped me (and are helping me), tremendously.

It was a surprise to everyone, except maybe my Doctors, that my health issues would force me to retire this year. I had thought, since first going on sick leave, that before long I would be able to return to work...  So, I wasn't "ready" (at all), to retire.

Hardly a weekday goes by when I don't hear from ASC or AMO.  I don't have to ask them for help - they actually call me and ask how I'm doing and remind me of things that need to be done to make my retirement as successful as it can be.

Every single person I've talked to in both the AMO Pension and Medical "Plans" Departments  and the ASC Human Resources Department have been EXTREMELY helpful, considerate and encouraging.  I hope I've been able to make them know how grateful I am.

What My Retirement Means For The Great Lakes Ships Site/Blog

So, I've decided I'm going to spend a lot more time working and writing on this Blog.  I actually have many "unique" visitors to this Site every day and YOU deserve to find interesting content here.

Now, I'm not going to make any guarantees, because I'm a confirmed procrastinator...  but my intention is to post at least 3 times a week on the Great Lakes Ships Blog.

Of course, I have many truly good friends who work on Great Lakes Ships so I will still be "connected" to the industry.

And I live right on the largest commercial shipping port on the Great Lakes, the Duluth/Superior Harbor, so I should be able to post lots of pictures and I'm going to work on creating interesting videos to post here as well.

Many Folks Have "Bugged" Me About Not Keeping Up With This Blog

Lots of people have asked me why I don't Post to this Blog.  Many folks have read the few Posts that are here on the Blog and have been frustrated that I haven't added more content here.

I want to say that I really am sorry I've neglected to maintain this site.  And I want to thank everyone who takes an interest in "The Great Lakes Ships Site", (and what I have to say).

I intend to REALLY try to make this site interesting again.  So, go ahead and bookmark this site, (if you haven't already), and give me another chance to make things "right" on this Blog.

AS an old friend, (HWP), would say;  "I'm all worded out"....  So I'm going to close for now.

Check back in a couple days - I BET I'll have another Post here!


    7 replies to "Retiring From A Life Of Great Lakes Shipping"

    • Alan Sieting

      Hi Doug, sorry to hear the bad news but glad for you also. You will learn to like it.. It will be nice to be family and
      I am sure your wife and dog will enjoy it also. When I retired I didn’t like it at all. Dorothy worked 5 years longer than me but when she retired I learned to settle in than. We enjoyed your story’s and are looking forward to more of them. We wish you the best that life has to offer, and may God take good care of you and your family.


    • Renee Butterfield

      Eli and the gang will help keep you busy, Doug! There’s an old poem which goes; “Grow old along with me. The best is yet to be!”
      I’ve posted my own website here too! With all of your help, I’m enjoying the golden years as well! Thank you! God keep His big arms wrapped around you and yours, Doug!

    • Beverly La Londe

      YES! I like the fact you won’t be out on the Lakes this winter! Will be the first winter in 50 yrs. there won’t be a family member out there. I’ll still be praying for those who are sailing, though.
      It will be nice to see you more often. Love, Your Mom (Bev)

    • Jeb Mauer

      Hi Doug,

      this is an excellent site! I’m a hobbyist writer working on a story set on Lake Superior and I have some general technical questions about how this industry operates. The most burning of which is what happens in a bad storm? In your blog you use the term “hide or run”, what would hiding entail? Does a ship go to the nearest port to wait the storm out? If there is a blizzard or winter storm and a ship decides to “run” how do they make it into port safely and do they rely mostly on GPS now to find their way?

      Forgive the foolishly simple nature of these questions, I know nothing about the great lakes shipping industry and any advice would be greatly appreciated.


    • Kimberlyn

      Hi all,

      Am seeking some help for a freighter obsessed boyfriend…can anyone help?

      He is a Michigan native living in Chicago. He’s also has this love for freighter ships…I’ve been trying to find out how to get a tour on one for his birthday, which is in August.

      Do you have any information about how to make this happen? Am not having a lot of luck so far.


    • Great Lakes Fish Tugs

      I hope you enjoy your time ashore. The lure of the lakes is powerful and unrelenting.

      • Doug LaLonde

        I miss the Lakes – but I live withing about 25 miles from Lake Superior. But you’re right – The Lakes (all of them), are alluring. Happy sailing to you!

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