The SS Pere Marquette (also Pere Marquette 15) was the world's first steel train ferry specially designed to carry railway vehicles. The ship was built in 1896 by Frank W. Wheeler & Co., West Bay City, MI. From 1897 to 1930, the ferry sailed on Lake Michigan and provided service between the ports of Ludington, Michigan, and Manitowoc, Wisconsin, for the Pere Marquette Railway. The number was officially added in 1924. She was laid up in Ludington in 1930 and scrapped at Manitowoc in 1935.
The U.S. Navy took a particular interest in asbestos-containing materials as the natural properties of the mineral increased their durability and also decreased their risk for combustion. In wanting to keep those on board as safe as possible, the Navy ordered asbestos to not only be a part of the infrastructure of the vessel but also be used in many types of equipment. This put the military personnel at high risk of later developing life-threatening asbestos-related conditions such as lung cancer, asbestosis, or mesothelioma. Veterans that got sick due to asbestos exposure during their service are eligible for VA benefits including free healthcare.