The S.S. Badger web site gives the history of the ship which begins:
She is the largest car ferry ever to sail Lake Michigan, and has provided a safe, fun, and reliable shortcut across the huge inland sea for more than fifty years. The S.S. Badger is a national treasure, offering a cruise experience that links us to an earlier time when a sea voyage was the ultimate travel and vacation adventure.
The 410′ S.S. Badger entered service in 1953, designed specifically to handle the rough conditions that it would likely encounter during year ’round sailing on Lake Michigan. Built primarily to transport railroad freight cars, but with superior passenger accommodations, the Badger reigned as Queen of the Lakes during the car ferries’ Golden Era in the late Fifties, with Manitowoc, Milwaukee, and Kewaunee as her Wisconsin ports of call.
Unlike most of her fellow ferries, the Badger escaped the scrapyard and makes the daily journey from Ludington to Manitowoc, WI May – October. Be sure to take the tour of the Badger!