Earlier this month, it was with great excitement that we announced our latest fleet addition will be named the William Richard, in honor of our chairman, dad, grandfather, captain, teacher, coach, and mentor – William (Bill) Richard Shepler, son of our founder Captain William Henry Shepler.


The patriarch of the Shepler family, Bill was here when things started for us back in 1945 as Bill’s dad, Captain William H. Shepler, first began piloting visitors to Mackinac Island via unscheduled speed boat charters. That first speed boat, the Billy Dick (nay William Richard), currently resides in dry dock awaiting possible restoration.  On board from the beginning, Bill today is still very much a part of the daily operation and can often be seen greeting guests or tagging vehicles and luggage at the Mackinaw City dock.  Now 87, he led the company for over 75 years before turning over the operational reigns to his children in recent years.


The William Richard, our $4M, jet-powered motor vessel is currently under construction at Moran Iron Works down in Onaway will join our six other passenger vessels come the spring of 2020.


Follow updates on construction of the William Richard using the #SheplersNewRide hashtag on our social channels.