Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding, Sturgeon Bay, Wis., and Washington Island Ferry Line have signed an agreement to construct a new, year-round passenger/vehicle ferry for service across Wisconsin’s Death’s Door Passage.
To be named Madonna, the 124 ft long, 40 ft beam ferry will have a 10 ft 8 in draft and a capacity for up to 28 vehicles and 150 passengers, making it the ferry line’s largest vessel thus far. It is scheduled for delivery in late May 2020.
“We are pleased to build what is our third ferry for Washington Island,” says Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding’s Vice President and General Manager Todd Thayse. “All current ferry vessels were built in Sturgeon Bay – two by Peterson Builders and this will be our third here at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding. Our past work is indicative of the quality and attention to detail the ferry line and all of our customers have come to expect from our seasoned workforce. This contract will add to the steady work relied upon by the hundreds of women and men we employ from across the region.”
“This opportunity to build yet another ferry vessel in a Door County shipyard is something we’re extremely proud of,” says Washington Island Ferry Line President Hoyt Purinton. “Built locally, this ferry – like our other vessels – will operate exclusively in Door County waters between Washington Island and the tip of the Door Peninsula.”
Twin Caterpillar C32 main engines will provide 1,600 maximum horsepower while the ferry’s stainless propellers and shafts as well as stout framing will make it ice-capable.
Outdoor, upper deck seating and an indoor, climate-controlled cabin will be available to passengers, along with restrooms on two decks. Bow and stern ramps with wide gates will allow easy vehicle loading. It will have an overhead of 15 ft, sufficient to transport high-clearance specialty equipment (such as portable asphalt plants) as needed.
“We’ve worked with naval architect Mark Pudlo and his firm SeaCraft Design LLC, also of Sturgeon Bay, for design and engineering details,” says Purinton. “We are fortunate both designer and builder are close at hand, a real plus for our company in this process.”
Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding will immediately begin the construction process by cutting steel and placing orders for engines, transmissions and other key components.