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Great Lakes' freighters topic of series

By Jennifer Sattler, Voice Reporter
Wednesday, January 5, 2011

At first glance, the Great Lakes sometimes seem serene, but when provoked by Mother Nature, they produce waves and swells of "Titanic" proportion.

St. Clair City Library's Friends present Freighter Frank Frisk and the Deep Six: Titanics of the Great Lakes from 7-8 p.m., Thursday, at the St. Clair Library, 310 S. Second St. Admission is free.

Frisk describes the similarities between the Titanic and the freighters of topic.

"This presentation details the six largest Great Lakes freighters that went down to their death. The Titanic was the newest and largest luxury liner to go down in her death. The Great Lakes can be just as deadly as the oceans," Frisk said.

His presentation includes Ric Mixter's profile of the largest shipwrecks on the lakes and has been updated with all the new special features. Ships to be highlighted include the William Moreland, the Cedarville, the Daniel J. Morrell, the Carl D. Bradley and the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Frisk's passion for the waterways is derived from his father's family.

"They were involved on the Great Lakes. Captain George Recor retired off the Great Lakes and several of the Grants were involved with GarWood so I would say I was raised in the ambiance much to my enjoyment all of my life," Frisk said.

For almost a decade, Frisk worked in the galleys of the Interlake Steamship Company boats. Frisk fed the crews' bodies while the Great Lakes fed his mind, body and soul. He lives and breathes freighters and waterways.

Extensive research at University of Detroit-Mercy and the Bowling Green University Maritime Great Lakes Research Center to complete projects afforded him the opportunities to share today.

"In the mid-90s I was one of the first on the Great Lakes to have an Internet connection, a laptop connected to a mobile phone, talk about slow, but I made it work," Frisk said.

Many take the Great Lakes for granted, he said.

"These Great Lakes we are blessed with should be considered one of the Great Wonders of the World. I wish our school systems could include any additional programs dedicated to the history from the early days, ship building and now all the research being conducted to benefit mankind's survival," Frisk said.

Along with the waterways, Freighter Frank Frisk is a tremendous source of information. Within the Blue Water Area, his shipping knowledge is unparalleled.

For more information, visit FreighterFrank.com.

Jennifer Sattler is a freelance reporter. She can be contacted at jenn.sattler@gmail.com.