VESSEL REVIEW | Neebish Islander III – Vehicle ferry to serve Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

Photo: Burger Boat Company

Burger Boat Company of Manitowoc, Wisconsin has completed construction of a new Ro-Pax ferry that will be operated year-round on the St. Mary’s River in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Designed by Seacraft Design of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, Neebish Islander III has an ice-strengthened steel hull that will enable it to operate even under harsh winter conditions as well as break through the solid ice it will encounter on its route.

Photo: Burger Boat Company

The ferry has an LOA of 92 feet (28 metres), a moulded beam of 33 feet (10 metres), a moulded draught of 7.3 feet (2.2 metres) and capacity for 15 passenger-driven cars on its spacious deck. Two Caterpillar C18 EPA Tier III engines that each produce 600 hp (447 kW) at 1,800 rpm will enable the vessel to sail at 10 knots even when fully laden.

The vessel’s electronics suite includes a Simrad radar and an Icom radio.

Neebish Islander III will be operated by Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula Transportation Authority (EUPTA) in serving the islands of Barbeau, Sugar, Drummond, and Neebish. The new ferry replaces EUPTA’s older vessel, the slightly smaller Neebish Islander II, which has been in service on the same Upper Peninsula routes since its delivery in 1944.

Photo: Burger Boat Company
Neebish Islander III
Type of vessel:Ro-Pax ferry
Owner:Eastern Upper Peninsula Transportation Authority, Michigan, USA
Designer:Seacraft Design, USA
Builder:Burger Boat Company, USA
Hull construction material:Steel
Length overall:92 feet (28 metres)
Beam:33 feet (10 metres)
Draught:7.3 feet (2.2 metres)
Capacity:15 vehicles
Main engines:2 x Caterpillar C18, each 600 hp (447 kW) at 1,800 rpm
Maximum speed:10 knots
Operational area:St. Mary’s River, Michigan, USA

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