Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry company was founded by Tom Pfeiffelmann, Sam McIntire, and others in the late 1970s when they purchased Argosy Boat Line. The company was then renamed “Star Line” after its 5 original stockholders, who make up our 5-pointed star. In our first year, Star Line operated slower ferries including the classic Nicolet, Treasure Islander and Flamingo.
In 1979, Star Line purchased our first fast ferry, Marquette. Over the years that followed, the old LaSalle and Nicolet were replaced with sisters to the Marquette. In 1988, Star Line took it up a notch with Radisson, an 85-foot fast ferry which was modeled after a luxury yacht. The Radisson still runs strong and large among our fleet today, carrying up to 350 passengers on each trip.
In time, the LaSalle, Nicolet, and Marquette also added hydro-jets with their trademark rooster tails. In 1990, Star Line added Cadillac to the fleet, and in 1993, added Joliet. These boats were built in the style of the Radisson. In 2005, Marquette was sold to Davis Park Marine of Patchogue, NY. She was replaced by the larger Marquette II. The following year, Nicolet was also sold to Davis Park Marine.
In 2015, Star Line purchased the Straits area’s only catamaran, Mackinac Express, and in 2020, the Straits area’s only pirate ship, Good Fortune! With Star Line, the journey is just as much of an adventure as the destination.
For the 2021 season, the Star Line fleet has grown to 12 mighty vessels of all variety to support our fast, fun, friendly and frequent daily service out of Mackinaw City and St. Ignace. Star Line is excited to welcome you to the beautiful and historic Mackinac Island this season! We’ll meet you at the Star Line dock, where your island adventure begins….
THE STAR LINE FLEET
Star Line’s pirate ship, the Good Fortune, was built in 2015 and officially joined the fleet in 2020. The Good Fortune doubles as a ferry and a cruising boat, rigged out with water canons and more for the full, fun pirate experience.
Built in 2015, Mackinac Express is the only catamaran on the Straits of Mackinac and one of Star Line’s newest vessels. With open decks and spacious seating, Mackinac Express can carry up to 345 passengers at a time.
Built in 2005 and named after Father James Marquette, founder of Sault Ste. Marie in 1688 and St. Ignace in 1671, this is one of Star Line’s newest vessels. This vessel has three engines and a capacity of 330 passengers.
Built in 1993, “the Jo” was named after French-Canadian explorer and geographer Louis Joliet. Joliet met Father Marquette at Sault Ste. Marie in 1669 and spent the winter of 1672-73 in St. Ignace. This vessel holds a capacity of 150 passengers.
Built in 1990, Cadillac was named after Antoine Cadillac, who as the commandant of Fort de Baude in St. Ignace. This vessel holds up to 150 passengers.
Built in 1988, Radisson was named after Pierre Espirit Radisson, who spent much time exploring Lake Superior and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. This vessel has four engines and a capacity of 350 passengers, making it one of our largest hydro-jet ferries.
Built in 1983, the LaSalle was named after Robert LaSalle, explorer of the Mississippi River all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. LaSalle came to St. Ignace in 1679 aboard the Griffin, the first ship to sail the Great Lakes. She holds up to 150 passengers & was Star Line’s first Hydro-Jet.
Named after Star Line board member Anna May Timmons, Anna May was purchased by Star Line in 2012, refurbished and put back into service in 2014. She is certified for 24,000 Lbs. freight and 150 passengers.
Straits of Mackinac II
Built in the 1950s, Straits of Mackinac II is one of Star Line’s classic boats. This vessel acts as both a leisurely ferry and a cruising boat on the water with a capacity of 295 passengers.
Built back in the 1950s, the Ottawa is one of our classic boats. Doubling as a leisure ferry and a classic cruise boat experience, the Ottawa is one of our largest vessels with a capacity of over 500 passengers.
Built in the 1950s, the mighty Huron is Star Line’s winter service vessel. With a reenforced steel hull, Huron can break through the forming ice of Lake Huron during the winter months. A capacity of 330 passengers, Huron is one of Star Line’s larger vessels.