Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry officially celebrated the launch of the beloved William Richard, the newest addition to the fleet, on Saturday, May 29 at 2pm.

The vessel is named after the patriarch and CEO of the Shepler’s family company – William (Bill) Richard Shepler. As a toast to Bill, the ceremony was a celebration of Bill’s life and legacy with close friends and family in attendance.

Patriarch of Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry, William (Bill) R. Shepler stands aboard Shepler’s newest vessel named in honor of him – William Richard.

Before the William Richard was placed into the water, guest speakers Dave Lorenz and Tom Moran from Travel Michigan and Moran Iron Works respectably recounted a few words to commemorate the momentous occasion and the impact the Shepler family has had in shaping the travel industry in the Straits Area into what it is today. From humble beginnings in 1945 to a third generation company with (now) seven passenger ferries providing guests with transportation to and from Mackinac Island throughout the season. Chris and Bill Shepler added several follow-up remarks, and broke a champagne bottle over the bow to conclude the special day.

After the ceremonious champagne bottle marked the vessel ‘seaworthy’, the William Richard departed into the Straits of Mackinac with the friends and family on board to continue the celebration.

The William Richard will be joining the fleet to make regular runs to and from the island for the season!