Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry is nearing completion of a $3.8 million, 85-foot ferry, called Miss Margy, which features a new design that provides smoother rides and more top deck seating. The company also strived to source everything from Michigan-based businesses.
“The design of the boat is a deep ‘V,’ which runs all the way to the stern of the vessel, which…will give it a smoother ride,” says Christopher Shepler, president of Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry. “We are trying to adapt to the needs of our customers, clients, and guests.”
The ferry weighs around 70 tons and will seat more than 280 passengers, the most seating available on any of the company’s ships. Miss Margy also weighs 15 tons more than the company’s heaviest ferry in operation.
Shepler says the vessel will run trips from Mackinaw City to Mackinac Island the majority of the time, but rides will also be available to St. Ignace, along with lighthouse and charter cruises.
Shepler says a total of 20 companies in Michigan worked on the ship, including Holland Propeller; Detroit-based Marine Machining, which provided the HV/AC system; Daily Mechanical; and Onaway-based Moran Iron Works, where the boat was manufactured.
The vessel will be christened by Gov. Rick Snyder Sunday, a month before it hits the water in the first week of August for testing. Shepler says the boat is expected to be approved to run for Labor Day weekend.