Victory I welcomed back to Little Current dock following high water level woes

The Victory I’s bumpers caused some damage to the Little Current downtown wall last month, the result of high water levels and the boat’s construction. Measures to protect the dock mean the cruise ship can once again dock downtown. Expositor file photo

PORT OF LITTLE CURRENT – As was reported previously, high Lake Huron water levels have affected the Port of Little Current’s burgeoning cruise ship industry when the Northeast Town asked the Victory I cruise ship to stop docking at the downtown wall following damage sustained to the dock—a combined result of high water levels and the ship’s construction.

During the Victory I’s recent visit late last week, the ship could once again successfully dock at the wall, allowing its visitors to peruse the docks and downtown businesses without the aid of a tender vessel.

Dave Williamson, Northeast Town CAO, told The Expositor that the municipality was able to work with the ship’s owners and Lakeshore Excursions to mitigate the risk and have the vessel welcomed back to port.

Lakeshore Excursions placed tires along the edge of the dock where the boat’s rub rails would hit immediately prior to its tying up while the ship’s deckhands also deployed fenders.

“They’re also exercising caution when they come and go in terms of their bow thrusters,” Mr. Williamson added. The ship’s bow thrusters were also causing damage to the town dock in the current high water situation.

“We will continue to monitor it on a visit-by-visit basis,” the CAO said.

The Victory I also had a local tug on standby in case a north wind made it impossible for the captain to use the bow thrusters, which could cause further damage to the dock. The tug would be used to pull the cruise ship from the dock if the thrusters could not be used safely.

Elsewhere in the municipality, high water levels are causing an upswing in the municipal spend. A minimum of $12,000 has been spent on the downtown docks and at least $4,000 spent at Spider Bay Marina with the raising of ramp docks two different times, Mr. Williamson shared. The swimming docks at Low Island are completely under water, but money has not been spent at this location.

The municipal office itself is at risk of flooding due to its proximity to the waterfront and is currently experiencing some basement seepage. 

Because of the higher than normal water levels, the Northeast Town has now applied for a FedNor grant for climate change adaptation funding.

“Next year could mean higher water—we just don’t know,” Mr. Williamson said.