What started as a passionate hobby has become an official government position for a resident of St. Joseph.
Michael Moran, whose interest in ships and ship photography led him to create the popular Facebook group “St. Joseph and Benton Harbor Boating News», was appointed harbor master by the City of Saint-Joseph.
“I started the Facebook page so people know when the ships are coming,” Moran said, standing on the banks of the St. Joseph River where he oversees shipping activities. “The city and a few other people liked the way it was going and saw my interest and decided to offer me the job. … I was pretty excited. I’m happy to help. It’s something that excites me a lot.”
While the position within the city is unpaid and mostly administrative, Moran is happy to do it – for the love of the ships.
“The Manitowoc is one of my favorite ships simply because I know the crew so well and they’re here so often,” said Moran, whose day job is an emergency room technician at Spectrum Lakeland. . “The Alpena because it’s 80 years old…and the oldest steam freighter on the lakes.”
Moran’s passion extends beyond vessel tracking and vessel photography. Whenever he gets the chance, he delivers donuts—primarily from Red Coach Donuts in Stevensville—to the crews of each ship.
“I try to get everyone donuts,” Moran said. “I go down to Red Coach quite often – they know me very well there.”
According to information from the Herald-Palladium, the port has not had a harbor master since 2016, when the Berrien County Port Authority was disbanded.
“I look forward to helping the port as much as I can in the months and years to come,” Moran said, in a comment on his Facebook group page. “I am grateful to those who have trusted me to help lead so much of the region I am passionate about.”