RANGER III Departure Preparation


Welcome to Ranger III

Thank you for joining Ranger III on your journey to Isle Royale National Park. Here you will find voyage depature information. Have a safe and enjoyable experience!


Dockside Check-in Time

  • Passengers – 8:00 am ET
  • Canoes/Kayaks - 7:45 am ET
  • Houghton & Rock Harbor Boats - 7:30 am ET
Boarding Times
  • Boarding Begins 8:15 am ET
  • Boarding Ends 8:45 am ET
    • If you are not aboard Ranger III by 8:45 am ET, you will not be allowed to board.
Sailing Times Houghton to Rock Harbor
  • Houghton Departure 9:00 am ET
  • Isle Royale Arrival 3:00 pm ET
Sailing Times Rock Harbor to Houghton
  • Isle Royale Departure 9:00 am ET
  • Houghton Arrival 3:00 pm ET
Sailing Times Houghton to Windigo
  • Houghton Departure 9:00 am ET
  • Isle Royale Arrival 2:30 pm ET
Sailing Times Windigo to Houghton
  • Isle Royale Departure 9:00 am ET
  • Houghton Arrival 2:30 pm ET

Entrance Fees

Your party is responsible for paying park entrance fees. There is a $7 per person per day fee for every individual aged 16 and up (youth 15 and under are free). You may pay this fee online in advance at www.pay.gov; search Isle Royale National Park. Don't forget to bring a copy of your receipt as proof of payment.

Interagency Passes (Senior, Annual, Military, etc.) and the Isle Royale $60 Season Pass waive this fee for the pass holder and up to 3 additional adults traveling with the party.

Don't forget to bring your pass! You must have your pass with you. If you do not have your pass for check-in, you will be charged entrance fees.


Reservation Changes


Passenger Departure Information

  • At this time, masks are not required in Isle Royale buildings and aboard Ranger III per the low transmission rate of COVID-19.

  • Prior to baggage check in, remove items needed during the onboard voyage. We recommend a warm jacket, food, and drink. There is no food or beverage service onboard. Carry on baggage should not exceed a small day pack.

  • Check-in will begin the boarding process.
  • Passenger luggage and freight may be inspected at any time for security reasons. Boarding will begin around 8:15 am and will conclude 15 minutes prior to departure.
  • Due to increased security requirements, once you board, you will not be able to return to your vehicle without NPS staff escorting you.

  • Children 5 and under must wear a life jacket on outside decks. Life jackets are available at the Purser’s Office, located on the lower level of Ranger III.

  • Alcoholic beverages cannot be consumed aboard Ranger III.

  • We do not guarantee departure or arrival times as these may vary due to weather or mechanical issues. We limit liability to the amount of the fare only.

  • No smoking is allowed indoors on Ranger III.


Ranger III Parking in Houghton Michigan

All traffic, except for those who have boats on trailers, will be asked to turn right and go down the bicycle path to the back gate at park headquarters. There will be signage directing you. All open parking spots that are not designated by a sign, are free long-term spots for our visitors. If all spots in that parking lot are full, the park controls the two lots up the hill from the headquarters. All these lots are controlled by the NPS, connected by walkways, and gated and locked nightly. There is also space for those traveling with campers or trailers. Boaters, please see “Transporting Your Boat on the Ranger III on this page. For canoe and kayakers please review “Transporting your Canoe or Kayak on the Ranger III” on this page.

Parking Help

  • If you need help with parking ask a ranger.
  • Do not cross any areas that are marked off with stanchions or orange cones for the safety of yourself and park employees.
  • Beware of two-way traffic on bicycle path; please stay to the right when passing on-coming vehicles.
Houghton Visitor Center RANGER III Parking Map
Parking Map for RANGER III at Houghton Visitor Center.  Check-in station on bike path.



Transporting Your Canoe or Kayak

  • When you arrive, drop your canoe or kayak at the roped off section at the end of the Ranger III. A staff member will direct you when we are ready to load it.
  • The only items that are permitted to be loaded onto the Ranger III inside a canoe, or kayak, are paddles, PFDs, safety equipment (pumps/bailers), and fishing poles. Backpacks, coolers, and other luggage must be loaded separately on a cart.
  • Make sure all equipment stored in vessel is securely fasten to your vessel.
  • If your canoe or kayak is over 18 feet or 80 lbs it will be loaded on the upper deck and exposed to the weather.

Transporting Your Boat

Preparation Prior to Arrival

  • Drain all water from any live wells and bilges.

  • Aquatic invasive species pose a serious threat to native fish and other species. All boats must be decontaminated, refer to park newspaper for details on decontamination methods.

  • The boat must be properly numbered and a current boat registration must be shown. If the registration is not present, the boat will not be transported and there will be no refund.

  • Internal and external fuel tanks can be at full capacity. Two other containers are allowed, not exceeding 23L (six gallons) capacity each. Containers must be closed and in good condition. Containers must be approved by the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) or the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG).

  • Twenty pounds of propane per boat will be allowed. Propane will be limited to one twenty pound container or any multiple of ten or five pound containers, not to exceed twenty pounds. During check in, cylinders will be tagged and removed to a secure area for proper storage. Containers must be approved by U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) or Underwriters Laboratory (UL).

  • Prepare Your Boat for Loading at Houghton or Rock Harbor

  • Attach a ten foot line to the bow and stern.

  • Make sure your boat is not excessively loaded with gear. Please secure anything that may roll around or blow away as we will most likely encounter wind and waves.

  • Raise engines / outdrives to above transom level. Also, transducers and other transom mounted devices, if possible. Raise any transom-mounted devices if possible.

  • Leave your downriggers, rod holders, and fenders inside your boat until launched at Isle Royale.

  • Antennas and fabric tops should be folded down and secured.

  • Make sure your drain plug is in. If heavy rain is encountered, we may drain your boat prior to launching. Automatic bilge pumps may be left on.

  • Vehicles with boat trailers need to park in the upper parking lot. Please follow these procedures for your return trip.'
  • Follow these procedures whehter departing from Houghton or Rock Harbor

Outboard Motors & Freight Charges

  • One hundred pounds of gear per person is included in the passenger fare. Passengers exceeding the limit will be charged an additional rate.

  • Fuel tanks associated with outboard motors must be empty.

  • Fuel tank containers must be approved by the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) or the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG).


Last updated: March 22, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

800 East Lakeshore Drive
Houghton, MI 49931


906 482-0984

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