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Shepler's Mackinac Island Ferry is one of three ferry companies serving Mackinac Island, Michigan. The company has docks in Mackinaw City and St. Ignace. Shepler's Mackinac Island Ferry provides ferry and freight service to Mackinac Island.
The company was founded in 1945 by Captain William H. Shepler, a native of Mackinac. Shelper first sold snacks to people waiting for the ferry across the straits of Mackinac, later expanding to a charter ferry service. Shepler expanded his two ship fleet following the end of World War II, and in the winter of 1950, built a 30-foot cabin cruiser with twin gas engines, with a capacity of 24 passengers. The vessel was christened the “Miss Margy” after Shepler's wife, Margaret.
The Mackinac Bridge was completed in November 1957. Following the decline in ferry traffic across the straits, Shepler purchased beach frontage on the Mackinac Island, and constructed a dock to provide service between the island and the mainland.
In May 1988, Capt. William H. Shepler died. He was followed in death by his wife Margaret in October 2004. His son, William R., has taken the helm with the help of his three children, Chris, Patty, and Billy.
The Shepler's fleet consists of seven ships: Miss Margy, The Welcome, Felicity, The Hope, Wyandot, Capt. Shepler and Sacre Bleu.
- The Welcome - 60 foot - Built in 1969 - 120 person - Twin Engine
- Felicity - 65 foot - Built in 1972 - 150 person - Twin Engine
- The Hope - 83 foot - Built in 1975 - 150 person - Twin Engine
- Wyandot - 83 foot - Built in 1979 - 265 person - Twin Engine
- Capt. Shepler - 84 foot - Built in 1986 - 265 person - Twin Engine
- Sacre Bleu - 95 Foot - Built in 1940s (Originally the' Botany Bay') - 25 person cabin, 300 person deck - Twin Engine. Steel hulled boat purchased in 1996, updated in the Winter of 2013 freight, passenger and ice breaking capabilities. 33 foot beam, 99 ton displacement.
- Miss Margy - 85 foot - Built in 2015 - 281 person - Triple Engine
The vessels that are currently used by Shepler’s, with the exception of the Capt. Shepler, Sacre Bleu,and Miss Margy were named after vessels that sailed the Straits area in the late 17th century.