Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding delivers new year-round ferry for Washington Island fleet

leader of ship repair and maintenance companies
June 29, 2020

STURGEON BAY, WISCONSIN – MONDAY, JUNE 29, 2020: Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding and Washington Island Ferry Line are pleased to announce the completion of a new, year-round passenger/vehicle ferry for service to the Washington Island community across the Death’s Door Passage.

The new ferry, named Madonna, measures 124-ft in length, 40-ft in beam, and 9-ft in draft. The ferry has a capacity for up to 28 vehicles and 150 passengers. This is the largest vessel in the Washington Island Ferry Fleet, allowing crews to operate a spacious second ferry with year-round capabilities.

“We are very happy to have our latest ferry, completed in less than one year, ready to sail this summer within our fleet,” says Washington Island Ferry Line President Hoyt Purinton. “The work that was completed within our Door County community has impressed us; and we are happy with our continued partnership with Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding. We look forward to operating the Madonna between the tip of the Door Peninsula and Washington Island’s Detroit Harbor for many years to come.”

The Madonna joins four additional vessels in the Washington Island Fleet, the Arni J. Richter, the Eyrarbakki, the Robert Noble, and the Washington. All current vessels in the fleet were built in Sturgeon Bay.

“This is the third build we have completed for Washington Island Ferry Line,” says Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding’s Vice President and General Manager Todd Thayse. “All current ferry vessels were built in Sturgeon Bay – two by Peterson Builders, Inc. – and three by the talented women and men here at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding. The work done on the new ferry has exemplified our quality and standards, especially during the Coronavirus pandemic. Our workforce was able to stay on schedule for an on-time delivery, which is commendable during this challenging time.”

“Although we are all going through a challenging time during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are excited about the newest expansion to our fleet, which will enhance our service to the island community for generations to come.” Purinton said. “With a similar design to the Arni J. Richter, which Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding built for us in 2003, the Madonna allows us to run a second, year-round ferry with icebreaking capabilities.”

Twin CAT-C32 main engines provide 1600 maximum horsepower while its stainless propellers and shafts (and stout framing) make it ice-capable. In addition to its winter operational capabilities, the ferry offers added vehicle and passenger capacity throughout the year. Outdoor, upper deck seating and an indoor, climate-controlled cabin are available to passengers, along with restrooms on two decks. Bow and stern ramps with wide gates allow for easy vehicle loading. The Madonna also has an overhead of 15-ft., sufficient to transport high-clearance specialty equipment and large oversized loads as needed.

Media Contact:

Monica Salmeri, Fincantieri Marine Group, Communications Specialist at 715.330.2219


Melissa Wollering, Fincantieri Marine Group, Senior Manager – Communications at 715.587.2993


About Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding

Located in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding (FBS) is an industry leader in the construction, conversion and repair of large ships – tracing its rich history back more than 100 years. The diversified FBS portfolio includes all types of vessels including articulated tug-barge units, dredges and dredging support equipment, self-unloading carriers, ferries and offshore support vessels. On the repair side, FBS is expert at managing critical deadlines in the repair and sustainment of bulk carriers and other ships of the Great Lakes Winter Fleet.

Shipbuilding facilities at the 63-acre plant include a large graving dock, a U.S. Navy-certified drydock, and lifting capacity to meet the most demanding requirements. Erection buildings are climate-controlled and equipped with sophisticated computer-aided manufacturing equipment. Fincantieri’s skilled workforce has an average of more than 20 years of shipyard construction experience, in-house engineering, and a management team focused on client satisfaction and on-time delivery.

Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding is an operating unit of Fincantieri Marine Group (FMG), the United States division of global shipbuilding giant Fincantieri. fincantieribayshipbuilding.com

About Fincantieri

Fincantieri is one of the world’s largest shipbuilding groups and has built more than 7,000 vessels in over 230 years of maritime history. It is a leader in cruise ship design and construction and a reference player in all high-tech shipbuilding industry’s sectors, from naval to offshore vessels, from high-complexity special vessels and ferries to mega-yachts, ship repairs and conversions, systems and components production and after-sales services. Fincantieri operates in the United States through its subsidiary Fincantieri Marine Group (FMG). This company, which serves commercial and government customers in the USA, including the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard, has three shipyards (Fincantieri Marinette Marine, Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding and Fincantieri ACE Marine) located in the Great Lakes. www.fincantierimarinegroup.com

About Washington Island Ferry Line, LLC

Washington Island Ferry Line’s operations began with the purchase of the existing ferry line in April 1940, which included two wooden ferries. Today, steel hulls of modern design meet a year-around, daily schedule of service. Washington Island, Wisconsin is a 22-square mile island and home to just over 700 residents. Homeport for the Ferry Line is Detroit Harbor, located 4.5 miles from the tip of the Door Peninsula. Washington Island becomes a popular summer destination, with thousands of seasonal Island homeowners, day-visitors and those who travel through Washington Island to reach Rock Island State Park for hiking or camping. Visitors board ferries at Northport Pier, at the northern end of State Highway 42, an approximately 1-hour drive north of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. In addition to providing an enjoyable experience on Lake Michigan waters, Washington Island ferries perform essential, daily lifeline service by carrying all varieties of cargo, mail and package freight, in addition to passengers and vehicles. Customer parking near the Northport dock is available to those who wish to board on foot for enjoyment of Island summer activities, such as bicycling or touring. Ferry schedules, rates and related Island information can be found at wisferry.com



Headquarters Washington DC
655 15th St NW, Suite 450
Washington, DC 20005
Fincantieri Marine Group - GBO
2465 Marina Circle
Green Bay, WI 54304
ACE Marine
201 S Pearl Street
Green Bay, WI 54303
Marinette Marine
1600 Ely Street
Marinette, WI 54143
Bay Shipbuilding
605 N 3rd Avenue
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235