A tugboat from Sturgeon Bay was dispatched to Manitowoc to help the S.S. Badger get back to its dock for repairs Thursday. The ferry was carrying 300 passengers and their vehicles from Ludington, Michigan to Manitowoc when it ran aground about 450 feet from its dock. The vessel apparently hit a sediment sandbar and broke a piston ring on one of its engines. It took about 2 hours for the William C. Selvick of Selvick Marine Towing to get to the ferry, free it and guide it back to the dock. For the passengers on board, a trip expected to last 4 hours stretched to 7. Repairs were made Thursday and a shake-down trip to Michigan is planned. If all goes well, the “Badger” could be making a cross-lake run Saturday.
The S.S. Badger was constructed at the Christy Corporation in Sturgeon Bay during parts of 1952 and 1953. It was originally meant to be a rail car ferry.