Detroit, MI (CBS Detroit) – Established in 1874, the J.W. Westcott story actually begins December 19, 1848, when John Ward Westcott was born into a prominent Michigan shipping family. John’s father, David H. Westcott worked as a fireman. Ward also founded Ward’s Central and Pacific Lake Line and Ward’s Detroit and Lake Superior Line. Westcott’s brothers were also involved in various shipping careers.
Today, J.W. Westcott continues to serve the Great Lakes marine community providing everything from the obvious to the ridiculous and everything in between.
“Captain J.W. Westcott started this out of the need for some sort of ship-to-shore communication,” explains President and Owner James Michael Hogan. “With us being established in 1874, as far as the marina history goes, we probably are pretty much the longest continuous operation, which is a part of the commercial Great Lakes shipping industry.”
“We are really the only ones that do what we do, in terms of overall service,” says Boat Captain William Redding. “With the mail deliveries, freight deliveries and what not.”
“We do three shifts per day, the boat runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week during the navigation season,” explains General Manager Sam Buchanan. “We may have anywhere from 1 to 20 runs per day.”
“My task is to maneuver our boat alongside these deep-draft vessels,” says Buchanan, “and they’re moving, so it’s kind of a specialized skill.”
“As I have put in each year at this job, I have realized the importance of the tradition,” says Hogan. “And the mystique and the uniqueness I guess you might say of all of this.”
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