The U.S. Coast Guard Christmas Ship

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Coast Guard's Christmas Ship Sails Into Town

November 30, 2018 - 7:20 am

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) --  It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas on the waters of Lake Michigan.

That's because the U.S. Coast Guard's "Christmas Ship" is sailing to Chicago and docking at Navy Pier Friday morning. 

This year, the Coast Guard's Cutter Mackinaw ship serves as the annual Christmas ship. It sailed from Cheboygan, Mich. to Chicago and will dock at Navy Pier around 8:30 a.m. Friday.

When it docks, crews on the ship and volunteers from 30 local youth groups will offload 1,200 Christmas trees to be donated to needy families throughout the area, the Coast Guard said in a press release. 

After offloading the trees, a public ceremony at 10 a.m. Friday will include a memorial wreath drop into Lake Michigan from a Chicago Fire Department helicopter to commemorate the crews of the Rouse Simmons, which acted as the Coast Guard's Christmas Ship for more than 30 years in the 1800's and early 1900's. 

In 1912, the ship became lost in a storm on Lake Michigan and sank with a crew of 16, according to the Coast Guard. In the years since, the Christmas Ship has carried on the Rouse Simmon's mission of spreading holiday cheer while also commemorating the lost crews.