Pelee Island Ferry Service has Rough Start to the Season

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Pelee Island continues to face setbacks with its ferry service.

Deputy Mayor Dave Dawson says the Jiimaan is currently docked as it undergoes an inspection to determine if the 30-year-old ship is viable moving forward. 

In the meantime, he tells The Afternoon News the recently built Pelee Islander II and the much smaller and older Pelee Islander I are alternating weeks due to a shortage of crewmembers.

He says Pelee Island was hoping to bounce back after a terrible tourist summer last year, but they're already off to a bad start.

"It came to us as a bit of a shock. We dialed down back in April and didn't have a big boat to get far supplies or construction supplies and service vehicles over," he says. "Coming into May we were all excited to see the big boat come out and it didn't happen."

Dawson says the Pelee Islander II won't be able to run every week until Owen Sound Transportation hires more engineers.

"There's two different licences involved with the small boat and the big boat for chief engineers and they don't have enough big-boat engineers," he added.

The 60-year-old Pelee Islander I is making trips, but cannot take walk-ons because of COVID-19 restrictions and heat.