The shortest “ice-in” and “ice-out” on record for the Washington Island Ferry Line made things a lot smoother this winter for traveling. Ferry President Hoyt Purinton says the ice was on the move for much of the season with the thickest ice they encountered only 16-18 inches deep. The calm winter allowed the ferry line to periodically add trips, gave crews the opportunity to address some of the needs on the other boats, and allowed water levels to drop. Purinton estimates there are more people living on the island right now than any other time during his lifetime, so the calm winter allowed them to move more freely.
Purinton is expecting more of the same this spring and summer with people wanting to explore the outdoors. He believes it could be even busier this summer if a dock inspection at Rock Island State Park goes well after high water levels closed the attraction in 2020. The Washington Island Ferry increased its schedule last week to now include six round trips daily. Friday night trips will begin on April 2nd.