Posted by: Kath Usitalo | April 13, 2011

Hunting For An Easy Border Crossing?

The Splattered Van leaving Marine City aboard a Bluewater Ferry on the St. Clair River

Don’t tell anyone but there’s a ferry quick way to cross the watery border between Michigan and Canada and book a hunting guide in one swoop.

I almost hate to share this secret because it might cause uncontrollable crowds to choose it instead of the bridge and tunnel options for crossing the international border in the Thumb area.

The Bluewater Ferry company sells fishing and deer and moose hunting licenses and can arrange for a hunting guide, but its main business since 1948 has been transporting vehicles and pedestrians across the St. Clair River between Sombra, Ontario and Marine City, Michigan (on the lower Thumb).

The Canadian firm’s two open air boats, the Ontamich (Ontario-Michigan, get it?) at 65′ long and the 75′ foot Daldean (darned if I know) make the crossing every 15 or 20 minutes, from 6:40 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. 7 days a week.

Aboard the Daldean on a Wednesday morning shuttle there were just three vehicles alongside the Splattered Van.

Other times when we’ve made the crossing the boats have been full, but it’s still a quick and kind of a fun alternative to the lines you can encounter at the Ambassador Bridge and Detroit-Windsor Tunnel or Blue Water Bridge at Port Huron-Sarnia.

The entire process, from driving onto the ferry in Marine City to the intense grilling by the Canadian Customs official in Sombra, took about 10 minutes. The cost: $6. Those on foot make the roundtrip for $2; trucks and RVs pay more.

I did not inquire about the price of the moose hunting license.


Note: I’m beginning to bust out of Michigan, THE Great Lakes State, to explore and occasionally share stories from the region, the other states (Illinois, New York, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota and even Pennsylvania) plus Ontario, that touch the freshwater seas.



  1. I wish I had known about this sooner, as often as I have crossed the Blue water Bridge. Will have to remember the next time I have to cross the border up there.

  2. I much prefer the ferry. It’s quaint and cool when there’s other boat traffic!

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