Photographer: Lynsey Holm '15

Photographer: Lynsey Holm ’13

General Information 

  • The Cal Fremling is a new state-of-the-art floating interpretive center and classroom that will enable Winona State University to provide rich, hands-on educational and interpretive experiences about the Mississippi River to thousands of students of all ages within the region.
  • The twin-diesel engine, commercial-grade steel hull vessel is 60’ x 17’and will hold 49 passengers in addition to the captain and crew.
  • The Cal Fremling will have a fully functional smart classroom and laboratory, offering Wi-Fi as well as Live Video Streaming capabilities so educational experiences can be shared with classrooms on campus as well.
  • The vessel is fully accessible for people with disabilities on the main deck, has an air-conditioned classroom, two restrooms, a small galley, and a fully maneuverable gangplank for loading and unloading passengers and equipment. It can transport canoes, kayaks and other equipment.
  • The Cal Fremling will support the same technology available in a modern-day classroom while exploring new ways to teach and communicate out on the water and in the field. Two cameras mounted on the upper and lower decks and an underwater camera, combined with the multimedia capturing and streaming capabilities of laptops and tablets, open up numerous instructional possibilities. The high-quality audio and video display systems on both decks will allow students to review media captured in the field and work on group projects.
  • The Cal Fremling will enhance our relationship to the River through research and education. This floating classroom will emphasize the broad multi-faceted nature of the Mississippi River and the people and places it touches. The river is a laboratory, a canvas, an archive, a stage, a text, a complex waterway worthy of contemplation, interpretation and protection.
  • While the new boat will be primarily used for undergraduate education and other WSU related activities, ample opportunity will be available for local and regional community groups, businesses and corporations to rent the boat for educational excursions on the river.

The Cal Fremling

  • The boat will be named in honor of the late Cal Fremling, WSU Professor Emeritus of Biology.
  • Dr. Fremling was a noted and beloved educator, scientist and river enthusiast.
  • His book, Immortal River: The Upper Mississippi River in Ancient and Modern Times, serves as one of the most comprehensive and readable accounts of the Mississippi River ecosystem available today.
  • More than half of the funding for the Cal Fremling has come from private donations, which continue to be accepted.

Save The Date

  • A celebration of the arrival and christening of the Cal Fremling will take place from 2:30-4:30 p.m. Friday, June 6, at Levee Park in Winona.
  • The event will offer educational stations from various community partners, live music, free Lakeview Drive Inn root beer floats, the dedication and christening of the Cal Fremling, as well as guided tours of the boat itself. The celebration is free and open to the public.

For more information on the Cal Fremling visit

About Winona State University

Founded in 1858, Winona State University is a regional public university with nearly 8,800 students. The oldest member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, WSU offers more than 80 undergraduate, pre-professional, licensure, graduate and doctorate programs on its campuses in Winona and Rochester. Winona State ranks as the second public institution in Minnesota in the 2014 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges,” has been named among the “Best in the Midwest” by The Princeton Review for a decade, and has been featured as one of America’s 100 Best College Buys for quality and value for 18 straight years. The university’s mission is to enhance the intellectual, social, cultural and economic vitality of the people and communities we serve: a community of learners improving our world. For more information, visit:

About SkipperLiner

Since 1971, SkipperLiner has helped bring to life nearly 1,000 fully customizable vessels. By partnering with architects and fabricators, we work to ensure these vessels are constructed to approved plans. Our team has designed and built tugs, barges, water taxis, paddle wheelers, workboats, commercials dinner vessels, private yachts, and some of the most luxurious houseboats on the water.

Based in La Crosse, Wisconsin, our state-of-the-art facility handles the manufacturing, production, engineering, and service operations for all of our vessels – including our houseboats and yachts in the 40’ – 120’ class, and our U.S. Coast Guard certified passenger vessels in the 40’ – 200’ class.