MV La Pointe, Newest Madeline Island Ferry arriving at the La Pointe Town Dock
Madeline Island Ferry Line was looking at options to expand its fleet when in June of 2017 they became aware of a former State of Texas ferry—the B.L. DeBerry—in a small Chicago shipyard in the preliminary stages of being reconfigured to use as a river cruise boat. The Ferry Line found it to be in excellent condition and when the owner decided to put it up for sale the purchase was concluded. In May 2018 the ferry was moved to Fincantieri Ship Yard in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin for a complete refurbishing, including an all-new pilot house, passenger accommodations, engines, generators, mechanical equipment, hydraulic ramps and state-of-the-art electronics. The new ferry is double-ended which means that it has an engine, propeller, and rudder on each end and will not need to turn around to depart from a dock. It is 102 feet long, 44 feet wide, and can carry 20-22 vehicles and up to 149 passengers. Its width makes for roomier car lanes, easier loading and more room on deck.
The B.L. Deberry was renamed MV La Pointe, honoring the important sense of place occupied by the town of La Pointe on Madeline Island—an historical geographical landmark for voyageurs and canoe-borne travelers who ventured into the region, home of the Lake Superior Chippewa. Guided by USCG licensed captains, the MV La Pointe made a 2 1/2-day, nonstop voyage from the shipyard, arriving at the Madeline Island Town Dock at 6:52 p.m. on May 31, 2019.
Dedication ceremonies for the MV La Pointe were held on Saturday, June 29 on Madeline Island and in Bayfield.