Greetings from Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry.  Our 2020 season is now officially underway and we look forward to welcoming you to Mackinac Island very soon!  The information below was first published on March 13, 2020 and has been edited weekly since that time.  This page will no longer be updated as of today, June 1, 2020.  Thank you for your patience during this time!

Confirmed Opening Day
Shepler’s began operation for our 2020 season on Friday, May 29th when we departed from both Mackinaw City and St. Ignace at 7:30am.  Important updates on ticketing, new policies, and exciting changes all planned for our 75th season have been provided since that time.  We appreciate your patience these past few months and we’re looking forward to seeing you.

2020 Revised Schedule
Sadly over half a million 2020 schedules have already been printed and distributed with a schedule which is no longer valid.  Please visit our 2020 schedule page for up to date information on this season’s schedule and be sure to join our special schedule email list while there. Schedule changes will be communicated on our website, via our Ferry Tales newsletter, and on all Shepler’s social media channels.  Please stay tuned for schedule changes as we begin operation.

Passenger Refunds
As all round trip ferry tickets are valid for any departure at any time between now and October 31, we will not be issuing refunds for any 2020 tickets at this time.  We appreciate your understanding as we continue to review policies and begin a new season with a new normal.

Monitoring
Please know that members of our team are working diligently to monitor the situation at a local, state, and national level.  The Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau has established a Public Health Task Force on which our president Chris Shepler is a sitting member.  The task force is assuring timely industry updates to area businesses, and subsequently our Mackinac Island visitors.  In summary, we’re very much on the pulse of this global situation and how it may potentially impact our upcoming season.

Safety and Security
As always, the safety and security of our guests is a top priority.  That’s never changed.  Be assured that we’ll continue that promise by making all necessary adjustments to our maintenance and housekeeping routines as necessary.  We’ve always gone above and beyond, and we promise you that will continue.

Michigan’s Stay Home, Stay Safe Order
The State of Michigan ordered a “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order effective March 24, and it officially ended today, Monday, June 1, 2020.

On behalf of our entire crew, we thank you for choosing Shepler’s Mackinac Island ferry and we can’t wait to see you right here, with us, real soon.  We look forward to your upcoming Mackinac Island experience!

Posted March 13, Updated June 1, 2020

33 Comments

Richard Hojna

As always you show that you care deeply about your guests and company thank you. When will we be able to purchase our resident island passes for 2020?

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Kathleen Johnson

Why thank you Richard. Resident passes are currently available! Please email office@test26.mlivehosted.com or call 231.436.5023 to speak with Amy. If you have access to a digital photo, you’ll be able to process your entire pass via email! Thank you for your continued support and for being a fan of Shepler’s. We look forward to seeing you real soon. Have a wonderful day.

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Dave Sova

Having known Chris for a long time I know you guys are a fantastic family as well as business owners. I hope and pray that you will be able to have a good season doing what you do best. Serving people!

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George Orlovich

Thank you Shepler’s for the safety concerns of the general public during this time of COVID 19.

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Kathy Herrick

What safety measures / changes are you taking on the ferries & check in areas?

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john mcfadden

do you have plans to run your light house boat tours this summer?? Both east and west.

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Lisa hommes

We are coming to stay on the island on Friday, July 3 and leaving Sunday, July 5 will we still be able to get a round trip ticket for four people for those dates

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Kathleen Johnson

Hello Lisa. Our tickets are all open ended and valid for any departure on any date. We hope this helps. Thanks again and we hope to see you soon.

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Kathleen Johnson

Hello Bud. Thanks for asking. There actually are no guidelines in place per the CDC, etc. regarding social distancing for transportation companies. That being said, we’re operating at a lesser capacity than in years past. We’re also asking guests to be mindful of their personal space and the space of others. We hope this helps and we look forward to seeing you.

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Wakefield Richard

You are being very vague on your answers regarding social distancing and capacities. Are you running on 50% capacity%. How are you handling unmasked patrons? How are you monitoring and addressing guests who aren’t mindful of personal space?

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Kathleen Johnson

Hello Wakefield. Thank you again for the post. We apologize but many of the answers are in fact vague and not applicable to every single situation. We have been operating just around 50% capacity to date. Effective today, July 10, masks are required for all guests. Please know the reality exists that when leaving your home, the possibility exists for contact with a known virus which is potentially fatal. We understand that not everyone is comfortable taking this risk and we suggest visiting at a later date. Thank you again for commenting and we hope to see you again when the time is right for you.

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Jane Cadreau

We are not able to utilize our tickets this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Is there a possibility to use our tickets next summer?
Thank you.

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Kathleen Johnson

Hi there Jane. There are several variables needed to answer that. Please call our office during regular business hours at 231.436.5023 so that we can assist you personally. Thank you!

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Kathleen Johnson

Hello Jennifer and thank you for asking. Yes, masks are required while visiting. We look forward to seeing you!

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Chris

Sorry just wanted to reconfirm, masks are required onboard the Ferry correct?

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Kathleen Johnson

Hi Chris. Masks are required effective today, July 10. Thank you for asking!

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Angela

This information page should have mentioned information regarding masks, so that everyone knows if they are required, so that no one shows up without one, thinking it’s not needed, due to it not being in the article. Are we also social distancing on the ferries? People have had to ask in the comments because it’s not in the article. People need all this info up front on this website. I hope this page will be edited to keep that info up to date. Thanks!

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Kathleen Johnson

Hello Angela. Effective today, July 10, masks are required for all guests. Please see our home page here for details. Thank you!

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Danielle Desrosiers

Can you please comment more on the current requirements for guests and how you are handling capacity as of early July?

Specifically, are you still requiring passengers to wear masks? Does your staff wear masks? At what capacity are you sailing?

We’d really like to use the ferry next week but will not if we are not comfortable.

I do appreciate that you are a business that employs many – I am very hopeful that we can be some of your customers. Thanks in advance for any information you can provide.

Danielle

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Kathleen Johnson

Hello Danielle. Our team wears masks. Masks are also required for guests. That being said, the reality exists that leaving your home, offers the possibility for contact with a known virus which is potentially fatal. We understand that not everyone is comfortable taking this risk and we suggest visiting at a later date for those uncomfortable. Thank you again for commenting and we hope to see you again when the time is right for you.

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Kathleen Johnson

Yes, effective July 10 masks are required. Please visit our home page for additional information and thank you for asking.

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Linda LaRue

Have you had anybody on your ferry that may have exposed passengers to the COVID-19 virus that you have been contacted about?

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Kathleen Johnson

Yes Linda. There was a contact tracing situation back in June that involved a passenger riding to and from the island on Shepler’s. That’s the extent of our information.

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Barb Grimsgard

Are you indeed running on 50% capacity currently and will you continue this practice through August? Is that a policy that you’ve put in to place to keep people safe or are you running at 50% because people aren’t visiting? Would like to know before purchasing tickets. Thanks.

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Kathleen Johnson

Hi Barb. At this time we’re at about 75% capacity on average. That being said, some departures during busy times are in fact full and we encourage guests uncomfortable with that scenario to choose travel at lesser busy times. Thank you for asking!

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Kathy Huizinga

We took Schepler’s Ferry on August 20, 2020, before buying tickers we asked about wearing mask, because I can not medically able to wear a mask. Your people were very polite and told us just to tell the person at the gate. The trip to the island a few employee did quietly come up to me and ask me to put my mask on and I told them I couldn’t medically and they were very polite and said ok. On the way back from the island we got on the ferry and sat up on top and just as we got into shore, one of your employee came out of the where the captains was, she was about 4 rows from me and very loudly and very snooting said mama put your mask on, and continued down the stairs, and with that rude loud way of telling me everyone turned and looked at me and a few people said she’s talking to you. And my husband who did have his mask on just looked at them and said she can’t medically. And they stopped saying things to me. She was very disrespectful and I should have came and talked to someone. She was a young college girl with very blonde hair and had it in a pony tail. Everyone else was very respectful except her. Hopefully this won’t happen to anyone else, she really upset me.

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Kathleen Johnson

Hi Kathy. We’re terribly sorry for this entire situation. Please know that our goal right now is that all Shepler’s guests are comfortable while traveling with us. We apologize for falling short on your recent visit and please know that we’ve passed your comments to Chris Shepler directly. We thank you for choosing to ride with us, and we do hope to see you again many times into the future.

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Kathleen Johnson

Kathy, hello again. We’d very much like to know the date and time and mainland dock you were headed to. If you have this information and could email us or post it here, that would be wonderful. We’d like to speak with this cast member and offer some additional training. We’re very sorry once again. Mail to: social at sheplersferry dot com. Thank you for your help.

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