Ranger III

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The NPS Ranger III leaving Mott Island -- Isle Royale National Park, Rock Harbor, Michigan (6127192753).jpg
Ranger III at Isle Royale National Park
Name: Ranger III (1958–2016)
Port of registry:
Builder: FMG Bay Shipbuilding, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, United States
Completed: 1958
General characteristics
Type: General cargo ship
Length: 45.77 m (150.16 ft)[1]
Beam: 10.36 m (33.99 ft)[1]
Depth: 4.62 m (15.16 ft)[1]

Ranger III is a 648-ton vessel built to carry visitors to Isle Royale National Park, on Lake Superior.[2][3][4] She was built in 1958, and has undergone several refits. The vessel is designed to carry 125 passengers, as well as 100 tons of cargo. She is designed to be operated by a crew of six when only carrying cargo, and by a crew of nine, when carrying passengers.

The vessel she replaced, Ranger II, was a war-surplus, wooden-hulled former minesweeper.[2] The first Ranger was also a wooden-hulled military surplus vessel.[5]

As built, she was powered by a pair of two-stroke diesel engines, generating 614 shaft horsepower (458 kW), which were replaced by a pair of conventional diesel engines, generating 850 shaft horsepower (630 kW).[2] While the vessel is capable of light ice-breaking, in late spring or early fall, the heavy ice of winter requires shutting service down.[6]

In 2012 the vessel's ballast water system was upgraded.[7] Ballast water is subjected to filtration and ultraviolet light.[8] The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel published a series of articles on the threats invasive species posed to vulnerable native species, which praised the National Park Service's initiative in equipping Ranger III with a state of the art system.[9]

While other vessels carry some of the visitors to the park, Ranger III removes all their trash.[10]

Operational history[edit]

On 29 July 2015, Isle Royale Queen IV ran aground, and Ranger III was called upon to bring the other vessel's passengers to the mainland.[11]

On 23 July 2016, the Portage Lake Lift Bridge broke down while Ranger was passing under it.[12]


The National Park Service is considering replacing Ranger III, either with a more modern vessel of similar capability, or several smaller, more specialized vessels.[13]


  1. ^ a b c d e "ABS Record: Ranger III". American Bureau of Shipping. 21 October 2016. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  2. ^ a b c William Hanrahan. "Great Lakes Fleet Page Vessel Feature -- Ranger III". Boatnerd. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  3. ^ Dan Roblee (21 August 2015). "57 years a Ranger: Deploying Ranger III as jack-of-all-trades keeps Isle Royale running". The Daily Mining Gazette. Houghton, Michigan. Archived from the original on 26 September 2015. Retrieved 20 October 2016. While most people think of the Ranger as a passenger ship, he said, it's officially considered a package freighter, and also inspected as a tank ship. The Ranger carries the vast majority of supplies for park service staff on the island as well as its tourist concessions, and also hauls the diesel fuel to power the island's electric generators.
  4. ^ Ellen Creager (27 May 2016). "Isle Royale jewels shimmer for those who quest". Lansing State Journal. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  5. ^ "History of the RANGER I. II. and III". National Park Service. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  6. ^ Dan Roblee (22 April 2015). "Ranger rides again: Ship makes first voyage of the year to Isle Royale". The Daily Mining Gazette. Houghton, Michigan. Archived from the original on 21 October 2016. The Ranger began its work season on time for the first time in three years, said park Assistant Superintendent Betsy Rossini, after two springs that saw delays due to large amounts of ice remaining in Lake Superior.
  7. ^ "Ranger III At Isle Royale National Park Given Ballast Treatment System To Thwart Non-Native Critters". National Parks Traveler. 20 July 2012. Retrieved 20 October 2016. Isle Royale selected the Hyde Guardian HG60 system. The Hyde Guardian treatment system utilizes a combination of mechanical filtration and UV sterilization to remove or inactivate organisms in the ballast stream.
  8. ^ Steven A. Fisher (9 August 2014). "Shipping industry need not be sacrificed to fight invasive species". Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The USNPS Ranger III prepares to dock at Rock Harbor at Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior. The National Park Service ship has a ballast treatment system that uses filtration and UV light to prevent the spread of invasive species.
  9. ^ Dan Egan. "Park chief put foot down on invasive species. Can others follow suit?". Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Retrieved 20 October 2016. That's when the brainstorming started. Green sat down with the captain, the ship's engineer and a professor at Michigan Technological University who had worked on water purification systems for the International Space Station to try to figure out how to make the Ranger III safe to sail.
  10. ^ David Scott; Kay Scott (6 September 2016). "Conversation With A National Park Lodge Manager". National Parks Traveler. Retrieved 20 October 2016. Ranger III (the 1950s-era NPS boat that operates twice weekly between Isle Royale and Houghton, Michigan) is our lifeline for everything on the island. It transports our food, equipment, and supplies. It also carries out all of our trash. We share a warehouse in Houghton with the National Park Service where we have an employee who takes care of our supplies. The boat brings virtually everything we require, except most of our lodging guests who choose to arrive via seaplane from Houghton or from Copper Harbor on the Isle Royale Queen IV.
  11. ^ "Substitute found for Isle Royale ferry". Ishpeming, Michigan: WBUP-TV. 29 July 2015. Retrieved 20 October 2016. The Queen is currently out of commission so the Ranger III will be used to bring all passengers currently on the island back to the mainland. However gale force winds are complicating the issue keeping the ferry from making any trips today.
  12. ^ Kurt Hauglie (23 July 2016). "Storm exposes problem in bridge's backup system". The Daily Mining Gazette. Houghton, Michigan. Archived from the original on 21 October 2016. At about 9 a.m. Friday as the National Park Service's Ranger III was leaving from Houghton to Isle Royale National Park, Weingarten said the bridge became stuck again in about the same position, again for about 30 minutes.
  13. ^ "Isle Royale National Park: Replace the Ranger III" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 20 October 2016.

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