After being dry-docked in Wisconsin for routine maintenance and inspection, the SS Badger has sailed back into its home port of Ludington looking better than ever. 

The floating historic landmark S.S. Badger is about to embark on its 69th year at sea on the fresh waters of the Great Lakes. This year, it will be looking better than ever with a fresh coat of paint.

As you can imagine, painting a vessel that is over 400' long, nearly 60' wide, and 7 stories tall is a colossal undertaking. The coal-fired ship traversed Lake Michigan in November and was dry-docked in Dorr County, Wisconsin. As this was the time for a mandatory inspection, officials decided to give her a new coat of paint while she was out of the water. Traditionalists will be delighted to see that the hull remains painted black with the classic red and white striping intact.

Ludington was even more thrilled to have her back in home port.

This may seem like routine business, but this is Lake Michigan, not I-94, and there are no guarantees. The S.S. Badger had to be escorted by tugboats both directions across the lake as its own coal-fired engines had been powered down at the end of the season in October for annual maintenance, making the trip take much longer than the usual 4-hour trek from Ludington, Michigan to Manitowoc, Wisconsin. You can watch the SS Badger's Facebook live video of her being ushered into Ludington. The ship won't sit idle for long as the 2022 sailing season begins soon. Bon voyage!

LET'S GO: The most popular historic sites in America

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