Passenger ferry repower and modifications

  • Customer: Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry

  • Location: For operation in the Straits of Mackinac, Michigan

  • Duration: February 2013 – May 2013

  • Dimensions: Length: 91ft Breadth: 36ft Depth: 10ft

  • Weight: 160 tons

  • Material: Steel

  • Other: Classed USCG - Title 46 CFR Chapter I Subchapter T: Small Passenger Vessels

Moran Iron Works performed a major vessel modification and repowering on Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry’s SACRE BLEU in early 2013.  The SACRE BLEU was constructed in 1959 as a 65’ steel monohull ferry. In 1986, the vessel had an additional 30’ added to the center span to increase capacity. In February 2013, Moran Iron Works was contracted by Shepler’s and began a major vessel modification and repower project on the vessel. The scope of work included extensive updates to the bow design as well as hull and deck strengthening reinforcements for increased durability, specifically for the purpose of allowing for an extended navigating season through ice-to-ice operational capabilities.  In addition, a full fixed CO2 fire suppression system was installed.


The vessel was hauled out at Port Calcite where the forward section of the vessel was removed as was most of the deck plating, leaving the aft and mid sections, the original deck-level pilot house, and internal framing still intact.  A new redesigned 25’ bow section was fabricated at our main fabrication shop in Onaway, as was a 47’ fully-equipped pilot house and passenger cabin. Both the new bow section and the pilot house were transported to the Port Calcite facility where they, along with the new heavier deck plating, were attached to what remained of original vessel.  Work was completed, and the SACRE BLEU was delivered in early May, in time for the 2013 season.