Michigan Has the Only Chain-Driven Ferry Boat in the US
The Saugatuck Chain Ferry is the only remaining chain-driven ferry in the United States, in use since 1838. The ferry “Diane” is a Coast Guard vessel with a capacity of 24 passengers.
The ferry chain is looped and 400 feet long; it goes thru a conglomeration of gears that pulls it from one side to the other. Three pullies keep it steady as it’s pulled across the Kalamazoo River by an operator turning a crank on the inside.
The ferry crew and “captains” are mostly college students doing summer work; the vessel runs on demand, so you have to stand on the landing so the crew knows you want a ride.
The ferry is open from Memorial Day thru Labor Day. Check this one out while you’re roadtripping this year!
You'll find it at 528 Water Street in Saugatuck.