MARBLEHEAD, Ohio (WJW)– The Kelleys Island Ferry Boat Line in Marblehead introduced the latest addition to its fleet on Tuesday.
The Carmen Lee is the largest in the boat line at 168 feet long with a capacity of 149 passengers and 36 vehicles. Service starts Memorial Day weekend.
The vessel has been a dream for the company since before 2018 when the design began and construction started near New Orleans, Louisiana.
“Kelleys Island has got busier over the last five to 10 years for sure and traffic on Friday and Sundays is an hour, hour and a half wait sometime so we have alleviated some of the traffic problems with a larger vessel,” said Augie Palladino, whose father started the company in 1992.
It’s named after Carmen Lee Palladino, the late wife of Kelleys Island Ferry owner Jim Palladino. She passed away in September 2019. The last time the ferry line added a new boat was the Shirley Irene in 1991. All of the company’s boats are names for family members.
The Carmen Lee was given a blessing by local clergy and then christened by Palladino.
“I thought it was fantastic they put on a great show. The two ferries crossed and they were blowing the horns at each other,” said Liz Kendrick-Creech, a resident of Kelleys Island who was anxiously awaiting its arrival.