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Ludington waits for SS Badger to set sail again

The historic SS Badger is docked for the foreseeable future, right at the peak of their season. Friday, the crew discovered the ramp to be malfunctioning. We are told it wasn’t due to damage from hitting anything but just wear and tear.

“Certainly feeling terrible for their staff, especially since it’s the height of season, mid-July,” said Brandy Miller, president of the Chamber Alliance of Mason County.

It’s a rare sight. the SS Badger docked in Ludington in the middle of a July day.


“I know certainly weather and things have caused them to cancel on a crossing at times,” said Miller. “But this is the longest I’ve ever seen them be down.”

Friday, the Lake Michigan Carferry announced the historic ferry would have to be out of commission indefinitely. The ramp, in the back of the boat was broken, not from damage but from wear and tear.

How long will that take? Unknown, but the town is waiting and watching closely.

“They drop a couple hundred people at our doorstep every single day and so to have them down, it’s certain that our businesses will feel that.”


On a regular schedule, the Badger leaves Ludington early in the morning and returns in the evening.

“On our side, the departure times kind of typically mean people maybe have to stay overnight,” said Miller, “But then they’re getting on the boat first thing in the morning.”

The trip back is where Ludington sees the most business.

“On the return trip, we get a lot of people that are getting off from the other side of the lake and that’s typically where we see the biggest impact as they get dropped off and want to grab dinner,” said Miller.


When asked for an interview, the Badger’s parent company declined, instead pointing to their post on their Facebook page. They did say an update would be coming later in the week and that they are still in the ‘assessment stage,’ which hints at this fix not happening by next weekend.

“I hope service resumes quickly because they have a seasonality to their business,” said Miller, “So we know the days are ticking by.”

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