Lindy Lou and Other On-Water Experiences


The 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.

The 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.

The 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, the 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.


In 2005, Bernida was rediscovered by Mackinac Island resident Charles “Toby” Murray in need of much care and clinging to the slim possibility that she was not yet too far gone to refurbish.  Together with Bart Hutwaite as Bernida’s new owner, a handful of men with vision formed the Mackinac Boating Heritage Foundation.  They turned to Roman “Emory” Barnwell, a boat builder on Mackinac Island, who agreed to undertake her refurbishment.  After many new frames and planks and a new deck and mast, Bernida was relaunched and began, once again, to turn heads. 

The Michigan Maritime Museum has already launched the champion.  As her planks swell from her brief time out of the water, the museum’s volunteer crew turn their attention to her rig in preparation for trial sails.

The Bernida will be captained and crewed exclusively by volunteers. Come join the Museum and the crew to experience the Bernida yourself!

Bernida Charters

By appointment only; call the museum for directions on booking directly with a Bernida captain. $50 a person for a 2-hour sail. Up to four passengers, aged 12 and up.

Payment due at time of sail.

United States Coast Guard Motor Lifeboat - Coming Soon!

Lightning Class Boat: The Flashback