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Two great new features were added to Put-in-Bay and South Bass Island in July. Seen here is the brand new Miller Boat Line ferry the M/V Mary Ann Market passing by the freshly installed Put-in-Bay Community sign. - Photo compliments of Bobbi Dobos

Miller Boat Line’s M/V Mary Ann Market Arrives at Put-in-Bay

Miller Boat Line’s new 140-ft ferryboat, the M/V Mary Ann Market, arrived on Put-in-Bay on Sunday, July 10th, 2022. The vessel is named in tribute to Mary Ann Market, who passed away in 2010. She and her late husband, Bill, purchased the ferry line from Mary Miller in 1978. The added ferry will help meet growth demands of carrying larger vehicles and transporting more than 450,000 passengers annually. “We set out in 2017 to design a boat that was quiet, extremely reliable and was able to accommodate a mixture of passengers and trucks and standard automobiles as best as we could given the size constraints of our docks and the shallowness of the western basin of Lake Erie,” Capt. Jake Market said.

Expected to be completed nearly two years ago, the construction process hit snags like supply and construction issues, rising steel prices, the Covid-19 pandemic, cost overruns, and technical issues. But all’s well that ends well when the “Queen of the Miller Fleet” finally arrived to her home port at Miller Boat Line, Put-in-Bay.

Built at the Fraser Shipyards in Superior, Wisconsin, the Mary Ann left Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, where it was being modified and headed to Put-in-Bay on Friday, July 8th. On board for the 44-hour voyage were two Miller Boat Line captains, David Bianchi and Jake Market, along with Captain Joseph McWilliams, and deck hands/engineers Mike Dolan and Todd Slezak who transport boats through the Great Lakes.

Upon arrival in the island area two days later, they passed north of Rattlesnake Island and did a run by North Bass Island where Mary Ann DeVore Market grew up. The crew brought her briefly into Put-in-Bay Harbor before heading to the Lime Kiln Dock.
The new ferry is 140 feet long and 38.5 feet wide and has a 7-foot draft. Able to transport 600 passengers and 28 vehicles, she is the fifth and largest ferry in the Miller Ferry fleet. The $7 million, all-steel, drive-on, drive-off ferry has three EPA Tier 3 compliant 803-horsepower Caterpillar C18s engines, which give her a faster top speed and make her more maneuverable in heavier winds and seas than the older ferries in the Miller fleet. There’s an ADA-designed cabin on the main deck for passengers unable to climb stairs to the upper deck. With the pilothouse on the third deck, there’s more room for passengers on the second deck, plus there are large forward and side-facing windows to allow wide vistas from the cabin. The passenger spaces and pilot house are both heated and air conditioned. Among other features are broad stairwells, audio/visual messaging, quiet ride, ADA restrooms, and easily sanitized surfaces.

One of the things the MAM has is an Automatic Identification System (AIS) which allows for marine tracking to view her exact location. You can download an app on your smartphone and search MARY ANN MARKET or MMSI: 368207180. The MAM also has a beautifully crafted chart table top with an inlaid map of the islands.

The ferry will go into service in August, after the final Coast Guard stamp of approval from the Federal level. An official christening ceremony is scheduled for September 25th. Look for more details in the September issue of the Put-in-Bay Gazette.

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