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Miller Ferry Schedule

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Miller Ferry Schedule

Directions To The Miller Ferry


From Sandusky, Cleveland, Or Points East Heading West

There are several routes to take to reach your destination. If you’re on I-90/Route 2, continue west until you reach OH-2 West. Cross the Sandusky Bay Bridge and take Exit 124 for OH-53 North/Catawba Is. From there, head north for approximately 7 miles until you reach the end of OH-53 North.

From The Ohio Turnpike

Take either Exit 118 North (OH-250) or Exit 110 North (OH-4) and then continue onto OH-2 West. Cross the Sandusky Bay Bridge and take Exit 124 for OH-53 North/Catawba Is. Continue north for approximately 7 miles until you reach the end of OH-53 North.

From Cedar Point

Take OH-6 West to OH-2 West and cross the Sandusky Bay Bridge. Take Exit 124 for OH-53 North/Catawba Is and continue north for approximately 7 miles until you reach the end of OH-53 North. Be sure to check the Miller Ferry schedule

From Kalahari Resort

Take OH-250 North and then exit left onto OH-2 West. Cross the Sandusky Bay Bridge and take Exit 124 for OH-53 North/Catawba Is. Continue north for approximately 7 miles until you reach the end of OH-53 North.

From Toledo And Points West

Head east on OH-2 and take Exit 124 for OH-53 North/Catawba Is. – the Lake Erie Islands. Follow OH-53 North until the end.

If you’re driving on the Ohio Turnpike, take Exit 91 (OH-53) North to OH-2 East. Then, take Exit 124 for OH-53 North/Catawba Is. and follow OH-53 North until the end.

From Port Clinton

you can take either of these routes: Head east on OH-163 (Perry Street) to OH-53 North. Drive straight for 6 miles until you reach the end of Catawba. Head east on OH-163 to Sand Road, which turns into West Catawba Rd CR-30. Follow this scenic route to the end.

From Columbus

Follow OH-23 North and exit onto OH-4 North/Bucyrus. Then, exit onto OH-2 West and cross the Sandusky Bay Bridge. Take Exit 124 for OH-53 North and follow it until the end. Alternatively, you can exit OH-23 North onto OH-53 North/Fremont. Follow OH-53 North to OH-2 East, and take Exit 124 for OH-53 North/Catawba Is. – the Lake Erie Islands. Follow OH-53 North until the end.

From Dayton and Cincinnati

Follow OH-75 North to OH-6 East/Bowling Green. Then, take OH-6 East to OH-53 North/Fremont. Follow OH-53 North to OH-2 East, and take Exit 124 for OH-53 North/Catawba Island – the Lake Erie Islands. Follow OH-53 North until the end.

GPS Location For Miller Ferry

GPS Addresses
Port Clinton, Catawba Dock ~ Mainland
5174 E Water St
Port Clinton, OH 43452

Put-in-Bay, Lime Kiln Dock ~ Island
2190 Langram Rd
Put-in-Bay, OH 43456



History Of The Miller Ferry

Early Days Circa 1905

At the start of the 20th century, Put-in-Bay, situated in the heart of the “Wine Islands” of Lake Erie, was teeming with vineyards, orchards, and numerous wineries. During the summer, tens of thousands of tourists flocked to Put-in-Bay via steamships. These magnificent steamers were approximately 400 feet long and far more prominent than the island ferries of today.

Additionally, Put-in-Bay was home to one of the biggest resort hotels in the Midwest at that time, the Hotel Victory, along with several other grand wooden hotels, a trolley, a colossal water toboggan, two schoolhouses (one for the children of East Point), taverns, restaurants, and an opera house.

Miller Ferry Livery

At the dawn of the 20th century, Put-in-Bay was home to a local ice business initiated by two residents – William M. Miller and Harry Jones. During winter, the crew would cut and gather around 1000 tons of block ice, which was hazardous. However, the location was ideal, as the ice was extracted from the Put-in-Bay harbor just yards away from the shore.

The ice was stored in an ice house insulated with sawdust. During the summer months, Miller would sell the valuable ice to sailors on their yachts anchored in the bay and to hotels and restaurants on the island. The aptly named “Iceman,” Miller’s 18-foot wooden delivery boat, was used for transporting the ice.

The Bass Islands, aptly named for their abundance of perch, pickerel, and bass, have long been a favorite destination for fishermen. William M. Miller, a Put-in-Bay resident, recognized the potential of this industry and expanded his local ice business to include six charter boats led by the 50-foot Avon. Judy Borman Prinz and John Borman, who grew up on Put-in-Bay, remember joining their father on fishing trips with Miller’s boats.

When the fishing was slow, the group might take a side trip to Lonz Winery on Middle Bass Island, where the men could sample George Lonz’s finest while the children explored the castle-like winery and collected champagne corks with glee.

In addition to charter boats, Miller also operated local water taxis, which were especially popular during Regatta week. The sound of “Millllllll-eeeerrrrrr!” could be heard along the bay as people hailed his water taxis for a pickup.

Lee & Mary Miller Era

William M. Miller’s son, William Lee, was also involved in the family business, skippering the Avon between the Bass Islands and Catawba Point. The vessel was attached to a scow to function as a ferry, which could transport around eight cars at a time.

One of Miller’s scows was the scuttled deck of the old Erie Isle, which had been acquired from the Put-in-Bay Auto Ferry Company. This scow was used to transport cars, freight, livestock, passengers, and barrels of gasoline and other fuels to keep the Miller Boat Livery running.

Lee was responsible for the year-round mail service between the Bass Islands and the mainland, as regular Bass Island air service did not begin until 1929. Delivering mail and passengers during the months of open water was challenging enough, but during the harsh Lake Erie winters, Lee and his crew faced an even greater delivery obligation.

They had to haul, push, and float “ironclads” filled with mail and passengers between the icy stretch of Catawba Dock and the Lime Kiln Dock of Put-in-Bay. These wooden boats were outfitted with metal sheathing and nailed on “with about a million nails,” according to Bill Market.

This was necessary to withstand the jagged ice, and the boat and crew had to be ready to float across open water or drop through weak ice areas. Paying passengers often had to help shove and maneuver the boats across the ice, which was a common occurrence.

Miller Ferry The Route To The Bass Islands

In the mid-1940s, William M. Miller, known as “Pop,” his son Lee, Lee’s wife Mary, and Put-in-Bay resident “Mick” Arndt purchased Catawba Dock Company stock from several Catawba residents. By 1945, Lee had taken over the Livery from his father and recognized the need for a more efficient and safer ferry system.

Stadium Boat, Works of Cleveland, built the all-steel auto/passenger ferry South Shore to address this need in 1945. The 65-foot enclosed vessel could carry up to 12 cars, run earlier in the spring and later in the fall, and had a hull designed to handle Lake Erie’s rough waters. The ferry trip between Miller’s downtown dock and Catawba Dock took approximately 40 minutes, with three round trips made each day. Trips to Middle Bass Island were by appointment in 1946.

Additional side-load ferries were added in the following years, including the 65-foot West Shore in 1947 and the 65-foot William M Miller in 1954, both constructed in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. In 1959, the 64-foot Put-in-Bay was built, with the ability to carry up to twelve cars and unlimited overhead clearance, making it ideal for larger vehicles and mobile homes.

Passengers entrusted their vehicles to the experienced crewmen, who drove them on and off the ferry. On occasion, cars were parked so closely together on the deck that the crewman had to crawl through the vehicle’s window to access it. Once passengers and vehicles were safely on board, the heavy wooden planks were hauled off the deck with a rumble, and the ferry was off “to the other side.”

Miller Boat Line had become the primary water connection between Catawba and the Bass Islands. Although the ice business continued into the 1950s, instead of harvesting ice from the harbor, ice was purchased on the mainland, loaded onto Model A trucks, and ferried to the islands.

Bill, also known as “Mucker,” took over as captain of the Wm. M. Miller when she arrived on the island, following in his father’s footsteps. In addition to his duties on the Miller ferry, Bill also skippered the Mervine II, a navy LCM used for fuel delivery to the islands during World War II.

Today, the Mervine II is docked at the downtown Miller Ferry Dock under the name Cantankerous. The Miller fleet at that time still included five fishing boats and two 26-foot Lymans, which were used for quick transportation, including medical emergencies.

In 1959, the Miller family and the island community were devastated by the accidental drowning of 28-year-old Bill. His loss was a tragedy for all who knew and loved him, as he was a popular and outgoing young man.

The Miller Boat Line Modern History

In 1966, Miller Boat Livery was incorporated and renamed Miller Boat Line. The company expanded its facilities by constructing a break wall and a steel and concrete dock at Miller’s Lime Kiln Dock, located on the southeast tip of Put-in-Bay. By redirecting the main Miller ferry route to Lime Kiln, Lee Miller established the most efficient and shortest ferry route to the island.

This three-mile-long route could be completed in less than twenty minutes. By 1972, the Miller Ferry schedule called for making twelve daily trips between the mainland and Put-in-Bay (South Bass). Additionally, scheduled trips were added for Middle Bass Island, which was serviced by the West Shore ferry.

In 1971, Lee Miller appointed Bill Market as the new manager of the boat line. Market, a fourth-generation islander, had worked for Millers since 1954 as a purser and deckhand. After the tragic loss of his best friend, Bill Miller, Market took over as captain of the vessel William M Miller. Following Lee Miller’s passing in 1973, Mary Miller entrusted Market with the responsibility of running the company.

The 1970s marked a significant period of growth and revitalization for Put-in-Bay. Local residents and developers worked to restore and showcase the island’s private homes and downtown buildings, many of which had fallen into disrepair. Several historic buildings were upgraded and preserved, such as the Colonial, Park Hotel, Blacksmith Shop, Crescent, and Round House. Numerous Put-in-Bay Hotels were developed, as well as rental homes.

During this period, there was an influx of funding into DeRivera Park, South Bass Island State Park, and infrastructure. A unique concave concrete break wall was constructed on either side of the memorial grounds to alleviate the high-water erosion of the shoreline surrounding Perry’s Monument (National Park). Tourism rapidly became the island’s economic mainstay, and Put-in-Bay entered a new era of growth and development.

Bill & Mary Ann Market

The ownership of the boat line changed hands in 1978, as Bill and Mary Ann Market, both native islanders, purchased the business from Mary Miller. The Market family has since been running and managing the boat line. In 1983, the Islander was introduced to the residents and customers, a 90-foot-long ferry with a 38-foot beam that allowed vehicles to drive on and off the ferry, thus reducing the scheduled turnaround time.

Built at G&W Builders in Cleveland, the Islander had the capacity to carry up to sixteen vehicles or 450 passengers. This new addition was welcomed by the community and customers.

The Miller Boat Line expanded its fleet in 1989 with the addition of the South Bass, a 96-foot vessel built in Cleveland that could carry up to eighteen vehicles or 500 passengers. In 1993, the William Market began operating, followed by the Put-in-Bay in 1997, both built in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. Each could carry up to twenty cars or 500 passengers.

The Put-in-Bay was later extended by 40 feet in 2010, increasing its capacity to approximately 24 vehicles or up to 600 passengers. These drive-on/drive-off vessels allowed the boat line to operate more efficiently, with departures every half hour, the most frequent schedule to Put-in-Bay.

The increased capacity and more frequent trips ensured that walk-on passengers experienced less waiting time, with crossings between Put-in-Bay and Catawba taking only eighteen minutes. Additionally, the boat line extended its season, with trips operating from early spring through late fall.

In fact, the 2011-2012 winter season was the longest-running season to date, as Lake Erie did not freeze over due to mild weather. During the peak summer season, the Miller Ferry schedule departs Catawba as early as 6:30 am and as late as 9:30 pm with trips every half hour. This is a significant change from the limited three daily trips offered in 1946. Miller Boat Line remains the only scheduled ferry service to Middle Bass Island from the mainland.

Over time, Miller Boat Line has sold its smaller ferries to new owners in the Great Lakes area, with the South Shore now operating in Lake Michigan and the West Shore and William Miller back together in Bay City, Michigan. The Put-in-Bay was renamed the Sacre Bleu and now serves as a freight vessel for Arnold Boat Line in Mackinac Island, Michigan. The retirement of each ferry was like saying goodbye to an old friend.

The company has also made several improvements, such as adding acres of free parking near the Catawba Dock and replacing old wooden planks with hydraulic ramp systems. Miller Boat Line is the primary UPS carrier to Put-in-Bay and Middle Bass, while Griffing Island Airlines takes over during the winter when the ferry season has ended.

The company’s retail shops offer gifts, snacks, sportswear, and free information about the island and surrounding areas. The Miller Office on Bayview Avenue in Put-in-Bay is a landmark that overlooks the downtown Miller Dock, the winter home to all four vessels.

Across the street is Miller Marina, developed in 1995 and offering 1100 feet of dockage. Because of its peaceful location and proximity to town, the marina is one of the most popular spots for both residents and transient boaters.

Miller Boat Line is committed to providing excellent services and value to its customers, offering budget-friendly fares, season passes, frequent floater tickets, season parking, group and student fares, free parking, and Put-in-Bay packages. The company is also proud to support several non-profit and community organizations and events on Put-in-Bay and neighboring mainland communities and was the sponsor of the tall ship “Niagara” for the Battle of Lake Erie Bicentennial Celebration in 2013.

The Miller family’s legacy lives on in the corporate name, honoring their island heritage and the goodwill the company has fostered over the past century. Bill Market III, the company’s patriarch, and leader, passed away in 2006, and Mary Ann Market, known for her leadership and generosity, passed away in 2010. Today, their three children, Julene, Bill, and Scott, own and operate Miller Boat Line.

The ferries are equipped with regulation Coast Guard safety, security, and fire equipment, ensuring a safe, dependable, and enjoyable crossing for all passengers. The puzzle of passengers, cars, bicycles, commercial trucks, kayaks, pets, boats, and trailers filling the ferry’s decks is part of the fascination of the journey.

The eighteen-minute trip between Put-in-Bay and Catawba allows enough time to chat with fellow residents, check the to-do list, or relax, while the Middle Bass route offers forty minutes of gazing at the islands, Ohio, and Canadian shoreline.

The Miller Ferry Schedule is made possible by the hard work and devotion of all who work there, from ticket sellers to gift shop and information personnel, dock personnel, freight handlers, office operations staff, security, captains, deckhands, and maintenance personnel. During peak season, Miller Boat Line employs about 95 people, contributing to its reputation as the most frequently traveled and largest ferry service on Lake Erie.

What began as a small fishing charter and ice business have evolved into a way of life for those who choose island living. Miller Ferry Schedule is the primary artery between the mainland, Put-in-Bay, and Middle Bass islands, and boarding a ferry across Lake Erie is a unique and poetic experience.


Alan F.

I highly recommend using this ferry system to get to the island. It was a great experience. You have the option to sit inside or outside in the sun or shade. I appreciated that they accommodated those who are handicapped by allowing them to stay on the bottom level and still enjoy the ride. The staff were true professionals when it came to loading and unloading cars. The Miller Ferry schedule is very frequent.

Peter U.

My husband and I, along with our dog, had a great experience with the Miller Ferry during our trip to Put-In-Bay. As first-time ferry passengers, we were pleased with the entire process. The cost for our Jeep and two adult tickets round-trip was $64, which included a $17 fee each way for the vehicle and $7.50 per adult one way. While our dog was allowed outside of the car on the lower deck, she wasn't a fan of the rocking motion. The ride took about 20 minutes and was pleasant, with good weather and a slight breeze. It's convenient that the Miller Ferry schedule operates every half hour during the summer from 6 am until 8 pm. However, schedules vary depending on the season, so check their website for current information. The miller ferry middle bass boat also leave from the same place.

Mark F.

Miller Ferry schedule departed on time, and the trip to and from Put in Bay was very nice. The cost per trip is good! The staff is friendly and professional.

Alfrred L.

The Miller Ferry schedule to Put-in-Bay Island is highly efficient and definitely worth the trip. They make it easy and comfortable to transport you and your cars or bikes without any hassle. The top deck is a great place to travel as you get amazing views of Lake Erie and the surrounding islands. When traveling in a group, we all enjoyed our trip. If you plan on sitting on the deck, it's best to bring a hoodie or something warm, as it can get chilly. Overall, I highly recommend this ferry service.

Tina S.

The Miller Ferry schedule from Catawba Island to Put-in-Bay and Bass Islands is available every half hour and can accommodate up to 15-18 cars, as well as a large number of walkers. The ferry also features an upper deck for walkers to enjoy the scenic view while seated. The staff is friendly and assists passengers with boarding the ferry. The last Miller Ferry schedule for passengers departs at 8 pm and for vehicles at 6 pm from Put-in-Bay. It's a wonderful experience to travel by ferry with your bike, car, or golf cart.

Clair B.

As a frequent rider on the Miller ferry Schedule, it's my preferred mode of transportation to Put-in-Bay. However, during my last return trip, the water was choppy, and the boat was swaying quite a bit, which made me a little queasy. If you're prone to motion sickness, I suggest being cautious, especially if you're feeling hungover on the morning return trip. Aside from that, the ride is typically smooth, and the staff is always friendly. The ticket prices are also reasonable. I plan on using their service again soon!

Freda W.

My child and I had our first ferry ride with Miller Ferry Schedule, and it exceeded our expectations! The prices were reasonable, and we were able to bring all of our belongings in our vehicle, which was convenient. Loading and unloading were efficient and secure. We are looking forward to riding with them again!

Paula D.

During my visit to Put-in-Bay as a tourist, I opted for the Miller Ferry Schedule and was delighted with the experience. Taking my car on the miller ferry put-in-bay was particularly enjoyable, and I found the entire process to be clean and efficient. The staff was very friendly and helpful, providing me with all the information I needed for the trip. As I traveled during early summer, there was plenty of room on board as there were few tourists visiting on the weekend. I recommend Miller Ferry Schedule and use their services again.

Ericka W.

Miller Ferry Schedule is a fantastic choice for transportation to Put-in-Bay. We had a wonderful experience during our day trip. Although they warn of a potential wait if taking your car, the ferry itself is spacious and comfortable. Standing room only, but the views are worth it. Be aware of potential splashing if seated in the front, which can be refreshing on hot days. Overall, the ferry is affordable, clean, and a relaxing way to travel.

Yuri F.

The boat ride to Put-in-Bay was a pleasure. The service was excellent, and the employees were extremely friendly. Miller Ferry Schedule was great.

Fred C.

The boat ride to Put-in-Bay was fun. Miller Ferry schedule started very early which was nice.

David R.

Miller Ferry schedule was perfect for our trip to the island. Nice Ride!