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Voices of the Vessel
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Voices of the Vessel

Author: Lake Michigan Carferry, Director of Marketing - Shelby

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This podcast is dedicated to highlighting the people and Voices from over the years who have made the BADGER what she is today – as she is celebrating 70 years of service. The people who have dedicated their lives to keeping her going and wouldn’t have it any other way. The family members who grew up in a time when the livelihood of the community depended on the Carferries that now have the BADGER as a reminder of their loved ones. The dedicated crew that comes into work each day and look forward to continuing her legacy to the next generation.Voices of the Vessel is a celebration of 70 years of the BADGER. Join in each week as we hear stories that highlight and honor her past while showcasing her bright future. Hear from crew and community members of the past, current day, and possibly future. Reach out to us at with any stories or questions you have! 

16 Episodes
The BADGER is a very unique vessel and her docking system is no exception. One of our Chief Engineers, Andy VerVelde, joins us as we talk about the history of docks, how it operates, and how the docks have updated over the years. We appreciate everyone who has reached out and sent well wishes during this time as we work towards repairing our dock. In partnership with Pure Ludington and Visit Manitowoc.
Stargazing, sunsets, sunrises and more await you on the overnight sailing on the BADGER. Relax and experience Lake Michigan while listening to the water and sounds of the ship. After a three-year hiatus, the Crew of the BADGER is ecstatic to bring back this opportunity for our passengers to enjoy. Listen to this week's episode to learn more. In partnership with Pure Ludington and Visit Manitowoc.
Time and time again, we hear that the BADGER's horn is the sound of summer. Everyone knows her sound, but did you know that her horn originated in Two Rivers, WI? Kahlenberg Industries is well known for Marine Signaling across the United States and in over 30 countries worldwide. Erick Kahlenberg joins us to talk about the history of the company, its operations, and notable achievements. It's not every day you find a 70-year-old horn still in operation. In partnership with Pure Ludington and ...
When it comes to Carferry history, Art Chavez is the historian to know. A Milwaukee native, he began riding and researching the ferries at a young age and has never looked back. He's written multiple books and just released the second edition of "Images of America: S.S. Badger Lake Michigan Carferry". The beloved book was originally published in 2003 and now will include more history and color photos. He's not just known for his books, he has also helped uncover what was thought to be a long-...
Over the years, the BADGER has benefited from having K9 search dogs who serve to keep everyone safe. Our dogs, Mika and Dara, have served for 8 and 7 years respectively, and this past year we were delighted to introduce our two newest K9 team members, Hans and Greta. Along with their handlers, Dean, Chuck, Steve, and Ian, they make a dynamic team. Learn more about where the dogs come from, their training, and what the handlers enjoy most about the job. In partnership with Pure Ludington and V...
Mike Braybrook is retired from the Engine Room on the BADGER and got his start while working for the C & O Railway. During his tenure onboard, he learned a lot and experienced some neat things. Listen to some of his favorite memories and why he loved working for the Carferries. In partnership with Pure Ludington and Visit Manitowoc.
Kevin Diedrich is the only known BADGER employee who has worked every position in the Engine Room and today is a Chief Engineer. A Manitowoc native, he originally didn't have the BADGER on his radar. He has spent more than 20 years as a vital part of the Crew. Learn more about what it's like to be a part of the Engine Room Crew and what he loves about the BADGER. In partnership with Pure Ludington and Visit Manitowoc.
Justin Nickels has been the Mayor of Manitowoc since 2009 and has spent the last 18 years in public service to his hometown. In fact, when he became the Mayor in 2009, he was the youngest full-time Mayor in the Country. Learn more about Manitowoc, some history, why Manitowoc is Wisconsin's Maritime Capital, and how Manitowoc embraces the BADGER. In partnership with Pure Ludington and Visit Manitowoc.
Mitch Foster has been the Ludington City Manager since 2019. He grew up in the area and moved away but was happy to come back and raise his family in Ludington. His wife, Becky, is from Wisconsin and the BADGER has become an integral part of their lives to see family. Listen more about what they love about Ludington, what it's like sailing with their kids and what the BADGER means to them. In partnership with Pure Ludington and Visit Manitowoc.
Joe Fischer has a storied career of ship building on the Great Lakes - all starting in Sturgeon Bay, WI. Retired from Bay Engineering, he got his start working for the Christy Corporation and helped design and start the build of what would become the SPARTAN and BADGER. Listen to what Joe enjoyed about Naval Architecture, some ships he has worked on and what he enjoys about the BADGER. In partnership with Pure Ludington and Visit Manitowoc.
At the tail end of 1991, Thom Hawley joined the newly created Lake Michigan Carferry to be the Director of Public Relations. His job entailed many things, including preserving history about the BADGER and Carferries. He also helped her gain new life as a passenger ferry from being a railcar ferry. Listen more about unique opportunities, people he had a chance to work with and what he loved about his time with the BADGER.
Todd Hansen has been known for his jokes and sports trivia onboard the BADGER for the past 18 seasons while calling games of World Famous BADGER Bingo. He is excited to be celebrating his 19th season during the 70th year anniversary. Listen more about his favorite memories, how he got started as an Entertainer, what new prizes he's excited about, and why he loves being a part of the BADGER crew!
Ludington, Michigan and Manitowoc, Wisconsin are the wonderful port cities for the BADGER. Today’s episode features Courtney Hansen, Director of Tourism for Visit Manitowoc and Brandy Miller, Executive Director for the Ludington Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. Tune in as we talk more about some history, the fun things to do in each city, new events, and what to expect. With the BADGER Mini Cruise Special, it’s a perfect time to visit each city! Courtney and Brandy share some of their fav...
Mark Barker is the President and CEO of Interlake Maritime Services, the parent company to Lake Michigan Carferry, the BADGER. With a great reputation on the Great Lakes, Interlake is a family company that takes pride in providing exceptional service and putting people first. They purchased Lake Michigan Carferry in December 2020 and look forward to a bright future with the BADGER. Listen for more about Interlake, what they do, and how the BADGER fits their mission. Tune in for what Mark enjo...
Audrey Robertson Boals is a women who lives in Ludington and sailing is in her blood. Her father, Bernard Robertson also known as "Bunny", was the original Captain of the BADGER. He took her out on her Maiden Voyage on March 21st, 1953 from Manitowoc to Ludington, carrying paper. Audrey was on that first sail in 1953 when she was only 7 years old. Listen more about her 5 Generations of Sailors in her family, what it was like growing up in a Maritime Family and some of her memories from the BA...
Introducing 'Voices of the Vessel' the official Podcast for the BADGER. Celebrating 70 years of service on Lake Michigan.