President Hoyt Purinton jokes the newest addition to its fleet might need a “Buy Local” sticker on it after the Washington Island Ferry announced Tuesday that Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding would be building its next vessel. The new ferry will be the fleet’s biggest at 124 feet long and capable to hold as many 28 vehicles and 150 passengers. Similar to the Washington Island Ferry’s Arni J. Richter, the Madonna will have icebreaking capabilities, something that gives Purinton more peace of mind for the winter months.
This marks the third time Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding has constructed a vessel for the Washington Island Ferry, which last added to its fleet in 2003. When the Madonna is completed in late May 2020, it will be the ferry line’s fifth ship.