J.W. Westcott, historic Detroit River mail service, hosts first wedding in 147-year history

Weddings are always significant occasions but the ceremony performed on the Detroit River Sunday was something special.

Or in the words of the groom, "today was awesome."

Mike Slusne and Julie Warner tied the knot aboard the J.W. Westcott Sunday afternoon - the first-ever officiated on the historic boat. 

"We’re right in the middle of the heart of the riverfront," said Slusne. "You can’t ask for anything more than that."

The J.W. Westcott has been around for more than a century, delivering mail to the passing freighters on the Detroit River. But in its 147-year history, neither the vessel nor its captain had overseen a union.

But for a lifelong boater like Slusne, he couldn't have imagined it any different.

"I said ‘let’s do something unique’ and they put it together for us," he said.

The owner, Jim Hogan, says his family has run the business for five generations.

"Going way back Captain J.W. Westcott, who was my great grandfather started in a rowboat on the river here," Hogan said. "You gotta remember that in 1874, the president of the United States was Ulysses S. Grant."

Then, in 1948, the boat gained official U.S. Postal Service status, which also granted it a zip code - the only floating one in the country. With a new wedding aboard the ship, the captains hope to add another dimension to the boat's history.

"We kinda figured we have a great area here so wanted to start a venue for events and share the riverfront with everybody," said James Hogan, the vice president. "Not just be down here but be a part of revitalizing Detroit."