MANITOWOC, Wis. (WFRV) – Dozens gathered to welcome the S.S. Badger to Manitowoc. Steve Gould was one of many passengers on the ship and says he enjoyed every second of the ride. 

“It was great, we took off at 9 in the morning. We had to be there at 8 and here we are at noon, it was a beautiful morning,” said Gould. 

Gould says he and his wife boarded the S.S. Badger to welcome new members to their family.

“We grabbed a couple of dogs from a friend of ours in Billings, Montana and we’re heading out to Billings right now, so this saved us about 300 miles of driving by coming from Ludington across on the ferry, we didn’t have to go over Mackinaw Bridge and we won’t go through Chicago,” explained Gould. 

This is the 70th sailing season for the ship, “Visit Manitowoc” says the car ferry’s arrival benefits the local economy. 

“Through October we have 1,200 visitors coming in our community boarding the Badger each day and coming off into our community. So it is a huge economic impact for all our restaurants, our stores, our lodging establishments, our museums, and everything across the board,” stated Courtney Hansen, Director of Tourism of Visit Manitowoc. 

Gould will not return to Ludington, Michigan on the boat, but says he is thankful for the experience.  

“Actually, I’m flying back home in three days and my wife, and her best friend are going to take the dogs, you know we’ve just saved 400 miles of driving plus we had a great experience, watching Ludington fade away this morning and now to be here and head out to Billings,” explained Gould. 

The S.S. Badger will operate until October 9.