Join Our Crew!

Join Our Crew!

With a capacity of 600 guests and up to 180 motorized vehicles, the S.S. Badger is like a small floating city – and with that comes the need for many hands. In fact, it takes more than 200 employees to staff the Badger at the height of sailing season, between full-time and seasonal positions. We fill as many as 30 seasonal jobs in a typical sailing season (mid-May to mid-October), and we’re hiring NOW for our 2018 season.

A Position for Everyone

We have a wide variety of seasonal jobs – from auto attendants and dishwashers, to housekeepers and cooks. We even hire entertainers! With so many types of positions, we should have something that fits your skills and interests. Below is a list of onboard and shoreside seasonal positions by department (see job descriptions here).


Customer Service Department

  • Customer Service Associate                                                       
  • Housekeeping Associate                                                               
  • Entertainer/Host

Galley Department

  • Night Cook                        
  • Day & Night Prep Cooks                                                               
  • Dishwasher

Giftshop Department

  • Gift Shop Attendant


  • Auto Attendant              
  • Cardeck Security Officer                                                               
  • Chairlift Operator

Choosing the Right Job

Below are some questions to help you select the position that best fits your needs when completing our job application. Our HR department also can guide you to particular positions that may be applicable for your skills:

Can you work a set schedule, or do you need flexibility? Onboard shifts are usually three 10-hour days a week (and involve accompanying guests on the four-hour ship crossing), whereas shore positions usually offer more varied hours in shorter shifts.

Are you a ship or shore person – and a night or day person? Many people work here because they love cruising Lake Michigan as part of their job, where others choose to serve guests in a shore position. During our season of double sailing (Michigan to Wisconsin twice a day), you have a choice of day shifts or night shifts both onboard and on shore. Night positions on shore end at 9 p.m.  Night shifts onboard are truly night – from 7 p.m. to 7 am.

Do you like people? Almost all positions interact with the public, so it’s important to like people! Some positions have more guest interaction like the entertainer/host, who does everything from leading guests in rousing games of Badger Bingo, to managing children’s activities. That said, some areas are less in the public eye like the engine and galley departments.

Do you prefer a physically active or stationary job? If you like exercise, you might enjoy being an auto attendant parking guests’ cars  (they run approximately three miles per crossing!). On the other end of the spectrum, a deck security person stands at the back of the boat and greets/watches people.

Do you mind doing a physical, drug screen and background check? Every person who works onboard needs two federal credentials that require a physical, drug test and background check, in addition to providing documentation. We’ll help you through the process, and we pay for your credentialing. Once you obtain your credentials though, they are valid for five years, making you eligible to return and work for many more seasons.

How to Apply

Once you identify your preferred job, it’s time to apply! Fill in the online form as soon as possible since we are interviewing now for the summer sailing season. A few tips:

  • Emphasize your customer service experience – Have you dealt with the public in another job? Be sure to mention that, since excellent customer service is the primary feature we look for in an applicant.
  • Include special skills – Do you have a unique skill applicable to the position? Tell us! For example, if you’re applying for an entertainer/host position, tell us what you can do (juggling, singing, etc.). Applying for a cook position? Tell us about your restaurant experience.
  • Name drop if you know people – While not necessary, referrals can help if you know someone who works at the Badger.

Why Work for the Badger

Have we convinced you to apply yet? If not, here are a few more reasons:

  • One-of-a-kind experience – As the last coal-fired steamship in the United States, the Badger is like no other maritime vessel, offering a unique work environment.
  • Flexibility – We offer jobs that fit everyone’s skill set and availability. Whether you’re a college student home for summer, retiree who wants to work a couple days a week or someone who is available to work all season (mid-May to mid-October), there is something for you. And we offer a variety of shifts and work schedules.
  • Training – We train our staff to be top-notch in customer service, a skill you can take anywhere. A former college student who worked summers here said that Lake Michigan Carferry taught him everything he needed to know about customer service and prepared him for every job in the future.
  • Career advancement – You never know where a seasonal position could lead. Most of our full-time, career-track employees began as seasonal workers, including many in our engine crew who started as dishwashers. And one of our vice presidents was an auto attendant!
  • A great team – You would be part of a motivated team who enjoys serving our guests!