Never let it be said that the fishermen of the Bering Sea or down in the Gulf of Mexico have all the fun. Smack in the middle of North America, a different sort of battle is waged in the waters of the Great Lakes. An essential trade route to the heart of the continent, the lakes bear heavy traffic much of the year — except in the months leading up to the brutal winter, when advancing ice, winds and waves make the waters exceedingly deadly. During these times, it’s the tugboat men who keep the lanes moving, in spite of the risk of 70 mph winds, 30-foot waves and the ever-looming possibility of joining one of the roughly 6,000 vessels and 30,000 lives lost to the lakes. And it’s these men — and their way of life — that are at the heart of History’s new series Great Lakes Warriors, premiering July 19 at 10pm ET.
It’s anything but an easy life ensuring that the millions of tons of cargo that traverse the lakes each year on the way to America’s heartland get there safely. Those who are in the business might be in it because it’s their family’s heritage, because they can’t imagine living any other way, or both. But as viewers will see in this eight-part series, for all the Great Lakes warriors who brave the hazards of the lakes, the wish is simply to get the job done and to survive to sail another day.