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"Honk, Honk" It's Back! Manitowoc welcomes return of iconic ferry to kick off summer

 The SS Badger Returns to Manitowoc After a 10-Month Hiatus
S.S. Badger
Posted at 4:56 PM, May 17, 2024

MANITOWOC (NBC 26) — The SS Badger is back in time for summer following dock repairs that cut last season short.

  • The SS Badger has returned to Manitowoc after a 10-month absence.
  • The ferry had been out of service since last July due to a malfunction in its docking equipment in Ludington, Michigan.
  • It arrived back in Manitowoc at noon on Friday, marking the beginning of its 71st season.

After a long hiatus, the SS Badger has returned to Manitowoc, to the delight of locals and tourists. The ferry, which had been out of service since last July due to a malfunction in its docking equipment on the east side of the lake in Ludington, Michigan, arrived back in Manitowoc at noon on Friday, marking the beginning of its 71st season.

According to Visit Manitowoc, the SS Badger is a driver of tourism for the city. On days when the ferry is in service, it has the potential to bring as many as 1,000 visitors to the community. These visitors contribute to the local economy by dining in new restaurants, staying in hotels, and shopping at boutiques.

The return of the SS Badger was met with excitement from the community.

“It just wakes everybody up and gets that excitement going.” Said local spectator, Wayne Geraldson.

“I’ve lived here all my life, and we would just come down to visit the Badger and see it when it comes in. It’s just such a unique experience,” adds Joan Geraldson.

Courtney Hansen, Director of Visit Manitowoc, expressed her delight at the timely return of the ferry, emphasizing that its arrival marks the official start of summer for the city.

“We are thrilled that everything is on schedule and in Manitowoc today. This really is the official start of summer,” she says.

Hansen further highlighted the ferry's importance, saying even if visitors do not stay for the entirety of their trip, they still contribute significantly to the local economy by engaging in eating in local restaurants, shopping in boutiques and staying in local hotels.

Visit Manitowoc anticipates a record-breaking year for tourism, thanks to downtown development and the SS Badger’s renewed service.