Star Line Ferry

Photo of Star Line Mackinac Island Hydro-Jet Ferry Marquette II in front of Mackinaw City State Dock. Getting ready to dock at Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry's Mackinaw City Dock 1.
The Star Line ferry La Salle docked at Mackinac Island, Michigan

Star Line Mackinac Island Hydro-Jet Ferry is the newest ferry boat company serving Mackinac Island in Michigan. They currently run the most daily departures to Mackinac Island. The company has a dock at Mackinaw City and at two at St. Ignace.[1]

HistoryEdit

Star Line Mackinac Island Hydro-Jet Ferry was started by Tom Pfeiffelmann, Sam McIntire, and others in the late 1970s. The company started off previously as Argosy Boat Line. The company was named Star Line after the 5 original stockholders making up a 5 pointed star. They operated slower ferries including the La Salle and Nicolet as well as the Treasure Islander and Flamingo. In 1979 Star Line brought their first fast ferry, Marquette, to the Island. Over the next few years the old La Salle and Nicolet were replaced with sisters to the Marquette. When Arnold Transit Company introduced their catamaran Island Express in 1987, Star Line responded with Radisson, an 85-foot fast ferry which was modeled after a luxury yacht. She boasted two propellers as the other ferries had, but also had twin hydro-jets for added speed. One hydro pointed out of the water making an incredible plume of water behind the boat. In time the La Salle, Nicolet, and Marquette added hydro-jets. In 1990 Star Line added Cadillac and in 1993 added Joliet. These boats were built in the style of the Radisson. In 2005, Marquette was sold to Davis Park Marine of Patchogue, NY. She was replaced by the larger Marquette II. And in 2006, Nicolet was sold to Davis Park Marine to repower the Joliet.

In November, 2016, Star Line announced that it would be purchasing the majority of competitor Arnold Transit Company's assets as the older Arnold Transit Company ceased all services to Mackinac Island after almost 140 years of service and went out of business due to financial problems. They still, however, operate their freight boat, which also carries US Mail and FedEx parcels, as Arnold's Freight Company, out of St. Ignace. [2] Star Line had agreed to buy six of the Arnold boats, its boatyard and several docks in late 2016.[3]

 
Star Line Hydro-Jet Mackinac Island Ferry's Mascot "Skipper" poses with Star Line employee

Star Line has only a single competitor carrying visitors to Mackinac Island, Shepler's Ferry, with docks at Mackinaw City and St. Ignace. In 2019, Star Line planned to also operate a pleasure cruise on Saturday evenings from St. Ignace during July and August.[4]

FleetEdit

Star Line has the largest fast ferry fleet in Michigan with six hydro-jet ferries: La Salle, Radisson, Cadillac, Joliet, Marquette II, and Mackinac Express Catamaran. In addition, they also own the freight boat Anna May, work boat Rose Mary and former Arnold Transit Company's classic ferries Huron, Ottawa, Chippewa, and Straits of Mackinac II which offer classic ferry rides to Mackinac Island at discounted rates during peak tourist season.

 
Star Line Hydro-Jet Mackinac Island Ferry's Catamaran getting ready to dock at Star Lines Rail Road Dock 1 in St. Ignace, Michigan.
 
Star Line Mackinac Island Hydro-Jet Ferry's Marquette II Hydro-Jet fast ferry leaving the Mackinaw City Dock for Mackinac Island, Michigan.
 
Star Line Mackinac Island Hydro-Jet Ferry's Radisson Hydro-Jet fast ferry leaving the Mackinaw City Dock for Mackinac Island, Michigan.

ReferencesEdit

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