Dock failure ends Badger’s 2023 season

August 1, 2023

Dock failure ends Badger’s 2023 season

LUDINGTON – The SS Badger has ended its 2023 season, due to damage sustained to its dock, the ship’s parent company announced today. 

“We have made the difficult, and unfortunately unavoidable, decision to suspend our daily crossings for the remainder of the season,” said Mark W. Barker, president of Interlake Maritime Services, parent company of the Lake Michigan Carferry (LMC), which operates the Badger. “This is not how we hoped our 70th season would end but we are fully committed to making the extensive repairs – and doing it the right way – so that we will be back better and stronger in 2024 to serve our loyal passengers and port communities.”

The Badger began service in 1953, one year after its sister ship, the SS Spartan. LMC had been observing the ship’s 70th year this season. 

On July 21, a failure of the counterweight structure on the port side of the Badger’s ramp system in Ludington occurred. Underwater divers, marine construction contractors and an engineering firm were quickly engaged but over the last week, it became clear that the necessary repairs were extensive and would take months to clear the collapsed structure and erect a new one, a company press release stated.

“While an amazing amount of work has been done in last 11 days and an incredible effort has been made by all of our employees and key partners on the lakes, this is a very complicated process and one that will not be complete in time to resume service this season,” said Sara Spore, general manager of Lake Michigan Carferry. “We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience and disruption in plans. We know that our passengers and our port communities of Ludington and Manitowoc rely on the Badger. We thank them for their support, patience and understanding as we tackle this unexpected and disappointing end to our season.”

In the meantime, LMC officials are working to keep as many of its seasonal staff working as possible in Ludington and through other employment opportunities in the Interlake family of companies.

Spore said reservation teams are systematically issuing full refunds for passengers with reservations, and they will be contacted individually in order of their reservation date.

“We also ask that people please respect the fencing around the dock area in Ludington as it is an active work site,” Spore said.


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