A popular boat cruise, showcasing a shoreline that was recently named the most beautiful place in America, has been canceled for the summer.
Sleeping Bear Dunes Boat Cruise LLC, based out of Frankfort, says cruises will not happen in 2012.
The third season of the Sleeping Bear Dunes Boat Cruise was cut short last summer, when crews had to ground the boat after a frightening accident. Itâ??s an accident that left the cruise company with no boat and consequently no cruises for this summer.
On July 25th of 2011, the 100-passenger â??Pictured Rocksâ?? ferry boat was forced to ground in Empire after an 8-foot wave smashed a window, and knocked out the boatâ??s electronics.
Sleeping Bear Dunes Boat Cruise General Manager Mary Pitcher says, "After the accident there were many issues we had to resolve, we were dealing with insurance issues and we didn't begin searching for a new boat for this year until it was too late. Itâ??s not a common boat and we needed to either rent or purchase a used boat. There just wasn't the right boat available, we looked in Florida, Mackinaw Island, and we looked everywhere!"
The accident couldn't have had worse timing, just one month after the sleeping bear dunes were thrown into the national spotlight, being called the most beautiful place in the country by Good Morning America.
Before last yearâ??s season ran aground, the cruise line was averaging about 80 passengers a day at 34 dollars per person.
Benzie County Chamber of Commerce President Mary Carroll says, "It will have an impact for people who were planning on coming and doing that while their here. We'll hope they'll still come and experience other things or maybe they postpone their trip for another season."
But Sleeping Bear Dunes Boat Cruise General Manager Mary Pitcher says they are confident they will return for the 2012 summer season. She says, "My hope for 2013 is to have some shorter trips, longer trips, go south occasionally, have maybe a cocktail cruise past Point Betsy, family trips as wellâ?¦all kinds of ideas!â??