Lindy Lou and Other On-Water Experiences


Lindy Lou, our electric powered river launch, is ready for boarding.

This attraction provides passengers with a chance to recapture those days from the late 1890s through the 1930s when launches plied the Black River, delivering guests to resorts, taking picnickers to up-river parks and pavilions, and generally helping fill the lazy hours of summer with relaxing diversions.

Lindy Lou makes daily cruises on the Black River (five per day, seven days a week in high season), boarding at the Museum and cruising first downstream to the river clock at the foot of North Shore Drive, then traveling upstream to the covered bridge on the North Branch of the river and finally returning to the Orley Dock at the Museum. Each cruise will cover about six miles and last an hour. The craft will also be available for groups and families to charter and a curriculum is currently taking shape that will use the launch to provide an educational experience for area students.

Lindy Lou provides a second 'on water' experience for Museum visitors. While the Museum offers historical sails on Lake Michigan with the tall ship Friends Good Will, and the new launch cruises offer a totally different experience exploring the rich history of the Black River.

The hull of the launch was constructed in the winter of 2010 in Slocum, Rhode Island, by the Beckmann Boatshop. Made of fiberglass, it was formed on a mold taken from an original Truscott River Launch. Truscott Launches were made in St. Joseph, Michigan and could be found on lakes and rivers throughout the United States at the turn of the century. Like many launches of that period, Lindy Lou is powered by an electric motor. All the finishing work on the launch, including cutting and installing cherry wood decking and building a structure to support the craft's canvas top, was done by Museum staff and volunteers in the Padnos Boat Shed on the Museum's campus.

Friends Good Will

Friends Good Will Friends Good Will is a replica of a sloop built in Michigan in 1810.  The ship sailed the Great Lakes as a merchant vessel, a Royal Navy vessel, and a United States Navy vessel over the course of her life.  We are proud to be home to Friends Good Will and be able to provide our visitors with a unique on-water experience aboard this historic tall ship.  For more information about the ship and tickets, please visit our webpages regarding Friends Good Will.


United States Coast Guard Motor Lifeboat 36460


You can now experience a short excursion on the Museum's USCG 36460!  The 36460 starred in the Disney Film The Finest Hours and represented the 36500 that accomplished the daring rescue of the Pendleton in 1952.

The USCG 36460 goes out on the hour, starting at 10:45 am until 3:45 pm.  Trips last for 20 minutes and take up to 6 passengers.  Tickets are $15 per person.  Call the Museum at (269) 637-8078 or stop by the Ship's Store to purchase your tickets today!


Bernida does not replicate history.  She is history.

Designed by Geo. Owen and built by Lawley, giants within and during the golden years of American yachting, Bernida was launched in 1921 and sailed from the Corinthian Yacht Club of Marblehead, Massachusetts, itself an icon of yacht racing history.

Bernida is a Universal Rule R Class Sloop and a thoroughbred racing yacht.  She made her way to the Great Lakes in 1925 and won the inaugural Bayview-Port Huron Mackinac Race later that summer.  She won again in 1927.

After spending some seasons in Holland and Pentwater, she was lost for a time and later discovered in a barn near Frankfort, Michigan.  After refurbishment in 2010, she entered the Bayview-Port Huron to Mackinac Race in 2012 and repeated her victory of 87 years before.

She was donated to the Michigan Maritime Museum within weeks of her triumph and sails exclusively with volunteer captains and crew.

She is fast and elegant; like the 1920’s.  She can carry up to four passengers at a time. Come join the Museum and the crew to experience Bernida yourself!


Bernida Charters

By appointment only; call the Museum for directions on booking directly with a Bernida captain. Tickets are $50 per person for a 2-hour sail.* Children are welcome on Bernida and must be at least 12 years old to sail.

*Payment due at time of sail.


Classic South Haven History Reflecting a Changing America


Flashback is a 19ft Lightning one design class racing sailboat.

The Lightning was designed by the venerable Olin Stephens to a strict set of specifications.  The idea is that identical boats would more fairly test the skill of skippers and crew.

South Haven was the headquarters of the International Lightning Class Association in the early 1940’s.  After WWII, middle class America took to racing far smaller and moderately priced sailboats than the wealthy of the previous decades.

Flashback was built in 1956 and still sports her canvas deck, mahogany trim, transom and rudder and beautiful Sitka spruce spars. She was raced competitively for many years and went undefeated in 1980 while racing exclusively against far more modern fiberglass models.

Flashback is skippered and crewed by qualified members of the Michigan Maritime Museum.