Fincantieri to Build New Washington Island Ferry

Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding and Washington Island Ferry Line have signed an agreement to construct a new, year-round passenger/vehicle ferry for service across Death’s Door.

Named Madonna, the new ferry will measure 124 feet long, with a 40-foot beam and a 10-foot-eight-inch draft. It will have capacity for as many as 28 vehicles and 150 passengers – the largest in the ferry-line fleet to date. It’s scheduled for delivery in May 2020. Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding will immediately begin cutting steel and placing orders for engines, transmissions and other key components.

“We are pleased to build what is our third ferry for Washington Island,” said Todd Thayse, Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding’s vice president and general manager. “All current ferry vessels were built in Sturgeon Bay – two by Peterson Builders, and this will be our third here at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding.”

“Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding’s distinguished work in the past for the ferry line, and the quality and breadth of skills represented within the yard, were strong factors in our decision to once again partner for this ferry project,” said Hoyt Purinton, president of the Washington Island Ferry Line.

Similar to the icebreaker Arni J. Richter, this newest ferry design will incorporate ice capabilities and add significant vehicle capacity throughout the year. Outdoor, upper-deck seating; an indoor, climate-controlled cabin; and restrooms on two decks will be available to passengers. Bow and stern ramps with wide gates will allow easy vehicle loading, and it will have an overhead of 15 feet: sufficient to transport high-clearance specialty equipment.

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