More power for Chantry Island Tour Boat: Marine Heritage Society Unveils Upgrades

The beloved ‘Peerless II’ tour boat has received significant upgrades, resulting in improved speed and maneuverability, thanks to an advanced propulsion and control system.

(L-R) Wayne Kautman (Chair of Marine Heritage Society), Pablo Chavarria (Costa Motor Powersport In front row beside motors), Society Board members Scott Good, Vicki Tomori, Bob Clarence, Deb Kaufman, Ali Kelly, Diane Marchent, Rob Campbell, Grace Currie, Diane Vernile, Eric Tolton; on the dock John Willetts, Deputy Fire Chief Paul Shular & Saugeen Shores Fire Chief Ed Melanson

Operated by the Marine Heritage Society (MHS), the 26-foot aluminum vessel is the primary mode of transportation for visitors between Southampton Harbour and Chantry Island from June through September each year. In just over two decades, the MHS has facilitated tours for over 25,000 people to explore the island’s historic lighthouse, restored keeper’s home, gardens, and bird sanctuary.

Wayne Kaufman, Chair of the Marine Heritage Society, remarked, “The ‘Peerless II’ is a workhorse watercraft and community asset, but after fourteen years with the previous motor, it was time for a comprehensive system upgrade.”

The upgrades include the installation of two new Yamaha four-stroke motors, providing a combined total of 400 horsepower. Additionally, a state-of-the-art Helm Master Control system provides boat captains with joystick command over both engines. This enhancement not only increases power on open waters but also ensures precise maneuverability at slow speeds in any direction around docks. The MHS thanks Costa Motor Powersport in Southampton and owner Pablo Chavarria for their expert advice and installation services.

“The new system offers fuel efficiency and other advantages,” said Kaufman, “but the ultimate benefits will be safety and reliability over years to come, which are equally important to our partners at Saugeen Fire & Emergency Services.” This is because the Peerless II is also a guardian of the lake, responding to water emergencies.

“The combination of twin-engine speed at full throttle, plus delicate movement around objects in the water should prove invaluable to our first responders,” Kaufman noted. “While we hope lake rescues of boaters and swimmers are few, the Peerless II stands ready for our local fire and safety crews as their training needs and public emergencies arise.”

Funding for the boat upgrade was split 50/50 between Saugeen Shores Fire Department and the Marine Heritage Society. A previous MHS Board had foreseen and planned for the expenditure, which will keep the Peerless II shipshape for at least another decade or longer.

About the Marine Heritage Society: In connecting the past to the present, the MHS helps preserve the pristine shoreline and enhances awareness of our nautical history dating back to the 1880s. The 200+ volunteer, non-profit organization operates in an ethical, fun, and safe manner for the well-being of our local community and positive public engagement with visitors from across Canada and around the world. For details on tours, events, volunteer opportunities, and more, please visit