June 10, 2006, marked the beginning of a new era. In a one-of-a-kind ceremony, the original U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw was decommissioned, followed by the commissioning of the new Great Lakes icebreaker that carries the same name. The old cutter’s legacy would be carried through to the new ship’s multi-mission capabilities of ice breaking, buoy tending, search and rescue, oil-spill response, and maritime homeland security. The new Mackinaw’s sophisticated propulsion package, computer-based navigation and steering, and state-of-the-art dynamic positioning system bring new technology to its mission as “Guardian of the Great Lakes.”
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