Spectators gather for parade of ships in Grand Haven

Posted at 6:04 PM, Jul 28, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-28 21:36:51-04

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. -- Thousands gathered in Grand Haven to take part in this year's Parade of Ships on Monday.

It's part of the annual Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival. Two of the ships arrived a day early due to some unexpected weather. While temperatures in the 50s caused most ship spectators to dress in layers, cool weather didn't keep them from attending.

"We just love the ships, love the people on the ships, the guys are so sweet and friendly," Patti Atkinson said. "We appreciate what they do for us."

The parade of ships brings in people from all across the United States. Frank Ness of Illinois said he served in the Coast Guard from 1959 to 1967.

Ness said the cooler weather doesn't bother him. "That's when we went out," Ness said. "When it got rough is when you went out for search and rescue, looking for people who don't know how to boat properly."

Commander Michael Smith, executive director of the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival, said it's always a rain or shine event.

"Whether or not it's hot or cold it doesn't matter," Smith said. "People share the joy for the United States Coast Guard in all kinds of weather, because they go out in all kinds of weather."

The ships will be offering tours until the event comes to a close. You can view the schedule by clicking here.