Winter is supposedly over, but don’t tell that to Mother Nature. It was sunny and just a little chilly when I visited Great Lakes Shipyards yesterday in Cleveland but it was snowing the day before during my stop at Duramax Marine in nearby Hiram, Ohio.

Winter layup work at Great Lakes Shipyard. 

At Great Lakes Shipyard, the lucrative winter layup season is about done. The yard was busy this season with several vessels including McKeil Marine’s tug Leonard M and barge Huron. McKeil’s vessels, and ATBs and other equipment from Interlake Steamship, Grand River Navigation and others, berthed at the yard this winter for planned repairs, routine maintenance, as well as inspections and miscellaneous renewals.

During my visit, Great Lakes also touted its new rewards program, which became effective on Jan. 1. The program awards points to contract customers for every dollar spent on towing and shipyard services provided by The Great Lakes Towing Company and Great Lakes Shipyard. The points are bundled and can then be redeemed for discounts on scheduled shipyard work.

With a few Johnson Cutless bearings at Duramax Marine in Hiram, Ohio. 

On Tuesday, I battled the snow and visited with Michael Schonauer, Lew Foster and Rick Spangler at Duramax. The company’s Johnson Cutless bearings are used in more vessels around the world than any other water-lubricated bearing, according to Duramax. At the International WorkBoat Show last year, the company introduced DuraBlue, a greaseless, pollution-free, self-lubricating rudder bushing that is designed to outperform traditional bushing materials.

I want to thank Mike, Lew and Rick for showing me around their efficient Hiram distribution facility which included a stop in the R&D lab. Now it’s back to the warmer weather in New Orleans … hopefully.



David Krapf has been editor of WorkBoat, the nation’s leading trade magazine for the inland and coastal waterways industry, since 1999. He is responsible for overseeing the editorial direction of the publication. Krapf has been in the publishing industry since 1987, beginning as a reporter and editor with daily and weekly newspapers in the Houston area. He also was the editor of a transportation industry daily in New Orleans before joining WorkBoat as a contributing editor in 1992. He has been covering the transportation industry since 1989, and has a degree in business administration from the State University of New York at Oswego, and also studied journalism at the University of Houston.