History Channel’s ‘Great Lakes Warriors’ features pair of DuluthiansA new eight-part series, “Great Lakes Warriors,” which premiers Thursday, July 19, at 9 p.m. on The History Channel, dives into the lives of the tough crews who call 94,000 square miles of wild blue water home. Among the main characters are Capt. Mike Ojard, a dreamer and a doer, and his son, Patrick.
In the heart of America, on a deadly inland sea that has claimed as many as 6,000 vessels and 30,000 lives, a way of life exists that few ever witness. Men who breathe diesel fumes and watch every step they take on shifting decks. Men who battle the elements, wrestle with runaway vessels, fight fatigue and sometimes risk all in the struggle to make a living.
They are tugboat men, sailors in constant combat with the deadly storms and hazards of the Great Lakes – men who work against the clock, fighting thick ice forming in every direction under treacherous winter conditions. Winds whip so fierce it could knock an entire crew off deck in the blink of an eye. A new eight-part series, “Great Lakes Warriors,” which premiered Thursday, July 19, at 9 p.m. on The History Channel, dives into the lives of the tough crews who call 94,000 square miles of wild blue water home.
The lakes continue to be a thriving industrial highway that delivers nearly 200 million tons of cargo to the heart of America. But for the months leading up to the dead of winter, only a few courageous men dare to brave these turbulent waters, where winds can hit 70 miles an hour, and waves over 30 feet high.
Among the main characters are Capt. Mike Ojard, a dreamer and a doer, and his son, Patrick.
The elder Ojard has put his money and sometimes his life on the line in Duluth to start a tug company on Lake Superior, the deadliest and wildest of all five Great Lakes. He enlisted a corps of volunteers from his circle of family and friends to carve out a piece of the tug trade on Superior. He hopes to create a new generation of sailors in his family, one that has marine heritage in its blood.
Ojard’s son, Patrick, still has his day job, but he loves boats as much as his father. So he and his wife sunk $50,000 into the operation to help buy a tug. Now a volunteer on deck and in the engine room, he is working to make sure his father’s dream comes true so that tug boating will be the family heritage.