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-   -   Organization and possibilities (http://www.steamboats.org/forum/save-delta-queen/1638-organization-possibilities.html)

Jim Herron 08-04-2007 10:23 AM

Organization and possibilities
 
It seems to me that we need to organize and administer the effort to rescue the DQ. A business plan needs to be written and and followed.

First, the basic question. Is it feasible at all?

To answer this, we need to know what the real costs are to own and operate the Delta Queen and can they be met? Include in this the expected maintenance, repair and replacement costs. Project annual increases for all items plus contingencies. Is the boat coming due for any major repairs in the next 1-10 years?

IF the boat can be acquired, where can it be berthed? What are those costs?
How would it be moved there and who would do it?

Second, what are the potential revenues?
MAL is showing on their web site a 7 day cruise the last week of August, 2008 as their final DQ cruise. Their fares range from $3599 to $2299 per person for that trip. If they sell out, the gross sales will be $495,812 for that week or $ 70,839 per day. That makes the average fare $ 2637.30 hased on 188 passengers, maximum load.

If they don't sell out, the sales @ $2637 per person are as follows:
90% Load: $446,231 (week) or $63,755 (per day)
80% Load: $396,650 (week) or $56,671 (per day)
70% Load: $347,068 (week) or $49,587 (per day)
26% Load (50 passengers): $128, 911 (week) or $18418 (per day)
(I included 50 pax because that's where the boat could operate without SOLAS interference as I understand it.)

Because many have said that MAL fares are too high, you can refigure these at whatever lower fare you want. Just multiply each fare times 188 passengers. Deduct from that whatever average load percentage you think is reasonable.

The real need here is to get an accurate cost of operation as mentioned above.

As I see it, there are several scenarios to consider. Those include:

I. For-profit operation.
A. Can the DQ really earn a profit?
1. What are the real costs of operation and maintenance?
B. A new DQ company.How do we locate one?
1. Investor owned?
2. Employee owned?
3. Privately owned.

II. Non-profit possibilities.
A. User supported foundation to own and operate.
1. Time share ownership.
a. Assuming a schedule of mid-March to mid-November, or a
schedule of 36 weeks, X 188 passengers = 6768 shares. But this
is based on double occupancy. If offered as 1 cabin for 2 people
the total drops to 3384 shares.
b. If shares were sold for 7 day use at $4000 per cabin (2 pax
included or $2000 per pax) a total of $13.536 Million would be
raised. This is $637 less per passenger than the current MAL
tickets.

2. Additional uses or funding.
a. As a non-profit the boat could become a traveling museum and
open to the public at layovers with fees charged to visitors.

3. Combination of cruise and traveling hotel uses.
a. Suppose the boat is cruising with overnighters. Make at least
some of the shore stops all day and during the layover run day
trips for locals. But offer those trips to organizations and local
non-profit groups, not the general public.(no riff-raff).

B. A floating museum with real cruising experiences for passengers.

OK, assuming that there is a feasability of one of the above ownership scenarios, create a formal Save the DQ organization with the goals to acquire, preserve and operate the DQ. Then do the following:

I. Organize the effort.
A. Recruit and elect officers to develop the effort.
1. Try for business executives.
B. Write a business plan.
C. Recruit an impressive board of directors
1. All should be seasoned professionals who can be relied upon to
work for this cause. Some should be recognized (famous) names.
D. Apply for a 501(c)3 designation from the IRS.
E. Develop the campaign to continue the exemption for the DQ.
F. Submit an offer to MAL to acquire the boat after it is retired.
G. Create a Board of Advisors
1. More of a "fan" base such as .org members, interested passengers,
etc. They are valuable to any effort with a lot of talent to offer.

II. List known DQ passengers who are potential leaders and contact them.
A. Business executives, active or retired.
B. Maritime executives, active or retired.
C. Politicians, active or retired.
D. Public figures (celebrities).
E. Rich passengers.
F. Media personnel.

III. Develop a political base of support.
A. Who are the past supporters? Are they still interested?
B. List influential passengers who have ridden the DQ in the past 5
years.
C. Any national politician who has supported in the past.
D. Regional, state and local politicians.
E. Mayors of towns where the boat stops.

IV. As for MAL, what will they want?
A. Once retired, what is the boat worth?
B. Buy it outright or lease it from MAL?

V. Any further suggestions? Who will come forward and lead this effort?

Just some observations for now. As for me, I'm just a DQ lover and passenger, not a businessman. We need someone to take charge of this effort and lead the way. Let's hear from you, whoever you might be.

-Jim Herron

inactive user 01 08-04-2007 11:04 AM

Jim,

Five words, 2 men:
Captains Nelson and Charles Jones

Lexie Palmore 08-04-2007 01:08 PM

For example: Some years back I was a volunteer sailor on the Barque Elissa in Galveston. She is a restored sailing vessel built in 1877. The resoration was authentic, although she now has an engine and other modern devices. But she is a long way from being a Coast Guard approved passenger vessel, although there is Coast Guard involvement. I am trying to find out what her status is with the Coast Guard today. She is sailed by volunteers and invited guests are aboard, but she is not "for hire". An admission is charged to tour her at the dock, where she resides most of the year. She is funded through the Galveston Historical Society which solicites donations and is non-profit. This has been working well to keep operational a 19th century vessel since the 1980's. When the project was first proposed, there was a lot of eyeball rolling, and it was an expensive restoration that could have ground to a halt many times. I think being close to a BIG city (Houston) with lots of type A's looking for adventure has been the Elissa's ace in the hole. (Almost anyone living in Houston thirsts for adventure.)


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