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Planning Your Trip

Following the guidelines below will help insure that the cruise goes smoothly for your group.

1. Be certain you know in advance the time and place to meet the vessel.

Confirm the time the vessel leaves and be at the dock about 15 minutes before departure. Please be on time. Late classes will not be able to have the full cruise experience. If you have to cancel your reservation, please notify GVSU-AWRI as soon as possible. It is important to give another group a chance at a booking and the vessel crew needs to know schedules in advance. College classes usually use the D. J. Angus in Grand Haven ( Figure 3). The W.G. Jackson is usually boarded at the GVSU Lake Michigan Center facility of the Robert B. Annis Water Resources Institute on the waterfront in downtown Muskegon ( Figure 1).

2. Be prepared for any weather conditions.

The vessels will go out regardless of weather with very few exceptions. If Lake Michigan is too rough, other locations will be sampled. For example, trips are not canceled on cold, rainy days but there is a likelihood of cancellation if there are severe weather conditions. If Lake Michigan is too rough, other locations will be sampled.

Appropriate attire is long pants or shorts depending on the time of year. It can be colder on the lake than inland and it is usually windy as well. Your group may want to bring jackets. Also, they should wear rubber-soled, closed toe shoes on-board.  no sandals! A wet deck is very slippery. Those sensitive to the sun should wear hats, long sleeve shirts, long pants, and should bring the proper sunscreen.

3. Limit the items that are brought on-board.

Please limit what your group brings on-board the vessels. Backpacks are not needed on the cruise and must be left onshore. Student cell phones should not be taken on-board and adult use of cell phones is limited to emergencies. Especially on the D. J. Angus, there is little room for storage. Leave lunches onshore since there will be no opportunity for eating on the vessels. Also, note that there is no gum chewing allowed on the vessels.

4. Determine special needs of the group.

If there are any disabled members of the group, or any special needs, please let GVSU-AWRI know as soon as possible so appropriate arrangements can be made. The W. G. Jackson is handicapped accessible and the D. J. Angus has limited handicapped accessibility. There are rest rooms on both vessels but there is no seating.

For those needing medication for motion sickness, advise them to take their medication at the proper amount of time BEFORE going on-board the vessel. Check if anyone in the group has a need for special medication or is allergic to insects such as bees and wasps. Advise them to have any needed medication with them.

5. Prepare your list of participants.

Have a copy of your list of participants ready to give the instructors before your group boards the vessel. The Captain needs to know the exact number of students and adults prior to departure.

6. Safety procedures aboard the vessel.

The GVSU-AWRI Outreach Education Program prides itself in providing safe cruises for all participants. Be sure that everyone in your group is aware of the importance of safety aboard the vessels by reviewing the safety procedures with them prior to their cruise. Especially in the event of an emergency, these procedures are vitally important.

7. Supervision and discipline.
The science instructors are there to facilitate the education program. Class teachers and chaperones are expected to supervise and discipline students during the cruise - this is not the responsibility of GVSU-AWRI instructors, captains, or crew. A cruise can be terminated if your group is not under control.