The lyrics of the hymn Eternal Father Strong to Save pay homage to sailors who risk their lives in the course of everyday work and aptly express the intriguing maritime heritage of Ottawa County, Michigan, a region along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan that saw many a ship and sailor lost. The lakeshore communities of Grand Haven and Holland became thriving commercial ports in the latter half of the 19th century and bore witness to the evolutionary changes in Great Lakes transportation. Early wooden sailing vessels were replaced by wooden steamers, which soon made way for steel vessels, which grew to include today's "thousand footers." Schooners laden with lumber and stone gave way to luxury passenger steamships ferrying Chicago’s wealthy tourists to Ottawa County’s grand tourist hotels. Families were changed forever when husbands and sons were lost to the gales of November, and fortunes were lost when vessel owners tried to get just one more trip in before the harsh winters closed the ports. Many of these vessels were simply overtaken by age, mechanical failure or shifting sands. Some broke up on shore while others were refloated to sail again. Some were left to rot at the dock while others simply sailed over the horizon into oblivion never to be seen again. Many now serve as “ice water museums,” attracting scuba divers, explorers and historians to these shipwrecks that comprise an important part of the early history of Ottawa County and the Great Lakes region as well.