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Old 01-03-2010, 04:06 PM
Steve Huffman Steve Huffman is offline
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Ohio River Mile 545.9
Posts: 628

If the idea is not limited to overnight steamboating, I would instead run tramp excursions out of various ports. The fun of overnight travel would not be there, but seems like it could be more profitable by going for the excursion trade. (have a large volume of low-fare passengers on short trips, as opposed to catering to a low number of high-fare passengers on long trips).

In other words, what the NATCHEZ, BELLE of LOUISVILLE and BELLE of CINCINNATI are doing now, except move to a new city when the number of passengers drops off. The crews of the NATCHEZ and BELLE's have a perk in that they rarely tramp, so they can go home at night. With tramping, the crew would be living aboard (or in town), but that's the same as with the overnight vessel crews.

There are some logistics, such as advertising ahead before reaching the next port, and the usual red-tape of dealing with the various cities.

I can think of one steamboat that would be ideal to begin tramping with: JULIA BELLE SWAIN. No other steamboats come to mind. I guess a second boat would need to be built... :-)
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