There is something extraordinary about following your heart and intuition. Fifty years ago, Aug. 24, 1969, Vic Jackson went across Lake Michigan in a bathtub.

This is a true story and all the endeavors are described in a book called “Crossing Lake Michigan in a Bathtub.”

The adventure of crossing the lake in a bathtub began as a $5 bet. Soon after this “shop talk” got around, an acquaintance who was remodeling his home dropped off an old cast-iron bathtub at Vic’s home. The pressure was on to make it sail.

Haphazardly put together, the boat-type thing was called “Vic’s Folly.”

His first attempt at crossing the lake was July 5, 1969, and came to an end because of bad weather.

It was nearly defeat, and people called Vic a failure.

Vic knew in his heart that he could do this, and he decided to try one more time.

The radio equipment he used was an unconventional way to communicate while out on the lake. He was certainly not a seaman, and had no nautical or navigational skills.

Yes, most people would think this was crazy, Vic was suicidal or a nut case, but Vic Jackson (my dad) is just the kind of person who truly believes there is no such thing as “can’t.”

In the early morning hours of Aug. 24, 1969, Vic launched his bathtub from Ludington and set sail toward Manitowac, Wisconsin. He estimated the trip wowuld take about 10 hours. It took him about 16 hours to get there, and with some unforeseen circumstances, he finally made it to Wisconsin.

He did it. Can you imagine what this must have felt like?

To pay respect to Vic and honor his crossing, Vic, family and friends will board the SS Badger and cross Lake Michigan close to the same path he used at the time.

That old cast-iron bathtub is still around, and is expected to be included in a new building at the Ludington Meritime Museum.

Wendy Wallander


(1) comment


Wonderful story! Way to go Vic! We'll be sure to make a museum trip before winter is here.

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