The Hope’s story started in 2009 when the need for a larger aft deck presented itself. Families were starting to travel with more bikes and more luggage. While the 150 person capacity was still sufficient, the luggage area was lacking. We contracted Moran Iron Works to lengthen The Hope’s aft deck by 17 feet and repower the vessel. (See Winter Improvements: Part 1 about the repowering project we completed on the Felicity this year.) . They did an amazing job and when the boat was ready for delivery, we painted it at the ship yard. To the untrained eye, the paint job looked great. But, it didn’t quite match up to our high standards.
Paint and Windows
Fast forward to 2016. It was finally time for The Hope to get her new paint. Our Marine Service hauled the boat out in November and brought her into the paint room. Starting in January, the real work began. All of the seats, carpet, electronics, and windows had to come out. Every hole had to be plugged and our crew started the process of sandblasting the entire vessel inside and out. We took her down to bare aluminum to get a fresh canvas for our painters to work with.
Once completely prepped, they layered hi-build primer, a base coat and several layers of top coat. Layer after layer of paint takes time to cure and dry.
The whole painting process for one of our boats takes about 3 months. The paint that we use is the same paint that is used on airplanes and costs about $100 a quart. The finished product makes it worth the money to be able to see the reflection of the waves on the hull as we glide on top of the water on our way to Mackinac Island.
Along with new paint, The Hope also has brand new windows! Why would be excited about new windows? Well, they are anti-fog, tinted, and help keep the cabin cooler in the summer. That sounds pretty fantastic to us.
We had hoped to have The Hope on the water in time for opening day. But, as all building projects go, there was a slight delay and she didn’t go in the water until this past Wednesday, May 24th, just in time for one of the busiest weekends of the year.
While it was The Hope’s turn for a face lift this year, each of our boats will go through this same painting process every 10 years. This project took thousands of man hours and over $400,000 to complete. It’s just another way that we are constantly improving our fleet to provide you with First Class Service. Come take a ride on The Hope this year and see what the hype is all about.