History of the Beaver Island Boat Company
The Beaver Island Boat Company in its present form was established in 1984. The company was formed to return control of the ferry service back to those who lived or owned property on the island. Stock sales were discouraged to people who were not directly connected with Beaver Island or Charlevoix and the ownership of large blocks of stock were also discouraged.
The continuing success of the Beaver Island Boat Company and the demand for improved passenger and freight service started the search for a new and enlarged vessel. The Beaver Island Transportation Authority (BITA) was formed to assist the Boat Company in the acquisition of the new vessel. BITA applied for and was awarded Federal and State Grants to build a new ferry boat. An agreement was drawn up between the BITA and BIBCO for BIBCO to be the operator of the new ferry boat used to enhance the service already provided by the Beaver Island Boat Company. The island and the Boat Company are proud to have the second “Emerald Isle” operating as the main ferry between Charlevoix and Beaver Island. BITA was the recipient of approximately 3.4 million dollars of federal and State Grants that helped pay for the building of the Emerald Isle.
The Emerald Isle, was designed by Timothy Graul Marine Design in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin and was built in 1997 by Washburn & Doughty Associates, Inc. in East Boothbay, Maine. She is 130 feet in length, 39 feet wide, and draws 8.5 feet with a top speed of 14.5 knots and maximum capacity of 298 passengers, 20 vehicles and one heavy truck and up to 95 tons of freight. She is handicap accessible, has in excess of 150 indoor/covered seats, 5 unisex restrooms, one handicap accessible with baby changing table, fixed stabilizers, power outlets, and food/refreshment vending machines.
Our other vessel is the “Beaver Islander”. She was built in 1962 by Sturgeon Bay Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. out of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin and purchased new by the Beaver Island Boat Co. She is 95 feet in length, 27 feet wide, and draws 8 feet with a top speed of 13.5 knots and maximum capacity of 200 passengers, 10 vehicles and 40 tons of freight. You can still ride the historic Beaver Islander on most weekends in the summer.
Over the years, the Beaver Island Boat Company has made substantial improvements to our facilities in Charlevoix and on Beaver Island in an effort to make your journey to the Island as effortless as possible.
Each year our ferries make approximately 375 round trips to the island, travel over 24,000 miles, transport over 40,000 passengers, carries around 6,500 vehicles and approximately 10,000 tons of freight.
The Beaver Island Boat Company has been fortunate over its years of operation to have a well-qualified and dedicated crew available. This is one of the reasons that the company operation for many years has been a safe and efficient one. All of us at the Beaver Island Boat Company are committed to our company’s further growth, which will be based on sound business principles and continued profitability.
To provide passengers and freight shippers with transportation that is safe, convenient, comfortable, reasonably priced, and courteously rendered; To provide employees with a safe and comfortable work environment, fair wages, advancement opportunity, and competitive job benefits; To provide reasonable return-on-investment to the Company’s Shareholders, consistent with other obligations spelled out in this statement.