On June 9, 2019, we held a metal cutting ceremony at Moran Iron Works where chairman Bill Shepler announced plans for a new boat. Exactly 16 months later, on Friday, October 9, 2020, our William Richard finally went into service on the Straits.
The $4M jet driven ferry is the smoothest, fastest, and most efficient motor vessel to ever sail the Straits and we’re thrilled she’s finally serving the greater community of Mackinac Island.
Our William Richard is named after chairman and patriarch William Richard (Bill) Shepler, who happens to carry the longest active captains license on the Straits of Mackinac, a license originally issued in 1950.
The Shepler family legacy on the Straits began 117 years ago when Bill’s grandfather began working for Arnold Transit Company in 1903. William H. Shepler, Bill’s father, worked as a merchant marine on steamers as well as on yachts before starting Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry in 1945.
The William Richard will make daily departures now through the end of the 2020 season.