The Northern Michigan beaches along the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore offer a quiet refuge perfect for a Northern Michigan vacation….usually. Every day during the summer months at 3 pm, the Maritime Museum at Sleeping Bear Point presents a live breeches buoy demonstration, during which a park employee guides children through the steps of saving Raggedy Ann and Andy from pretend peril with a complex zip line system. The life-saving technique was used in the earliest days of Great Lakes sailing as a means to transport sailors from a sinking ship to a nearby ship or shoreline.
But the breeches buoy system would have been useless without its counterpart, the Lyle gun. This small cannon was capable of shooting a life line more than 400 yards to a ship in distress, and every Thursday after the breeches buoy demo the Maritime Museum shoots a line from its own Lyle gun into the blue waters of Lake Michigan. MyNorth’s John Newland visited the Maritime Museum to film the fun on the shores of the Sleeping Bear Dunes.