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Capt John 02-20-2009 01:05 PM

Crazy DQ idea...or is it?!?
Like all of us I am grasping at straws looking for a way to save the DQ and I don't know if this has been discussed or not. If a the DQ can't get a full exemption, how about a modified exemption? What if the DQ was allowed to cruise with overnight passengers, but during daylight hours (12 hours) only and having to be connected to a city fire main or have a fire truck stand-by at night while passengers slept?

It would take some more creative itinerary planning, but would allow the boat to cruise and alleviate the concerns of fire onboard while away from shore with people sleeping. This would also allow more shore time for passengers to explore various towns (activities would have to be scheduled as the boat would be there at night) and also keep passengers from missing any sights cruising at night.

This may be a pipe dream and may have been discussed, but I really think that this idea could be a good compromise with a little fine tuning.



John Fryant 02-21-2009 10:26 PM

This is the same thing that has been on my mind for some time. Whats the difference between overninght passengers sleeping on the boat while it is tied to the bank and overnight guests in the Delta Queen Hotel sleeping overnight while the boat is tied to the bank? Could there be some loophole in the SAS law that would allow the boat to cruise for 12 hrs. as Capt John has pointed out and then tie up every night and continure the next day?

Shipyard Sam 02-22-2009 09:23 AM

What happens when, at the end of 12 hours, the boat is caught out in the boonies far from a fire main or fire truck?

inactive user 02 02-22-2009 09:31 AM

I don't believe they are proposing the removal of the excellent on-board fire fighting system....just docking her for the night.

Personally, I am more worried about her sitting there in Chattanooga with no on-board firefighting team. Leaving her to the local Fire Department who know diddly squat about her sounds much more dangerous than having a trained squad aboard as crew as she runs the rivers.

As Dale says, what do I know?


R. Dale Flick 02-22-2009 10:53 AM

RE: '12 hour steaming schedule for DQ.'
Steamboating colleagues:
Great insights on the above previously discussed "12 hour steaming schedule for the DELTA QUEEN.

I know I don't know much, but let's all stop and think for a moment what a schedule and logistical headache such a "12 hour cruising schedule" would present. Wouldn't that pretty much scratch most if not all day stops at towns and cities along the way? Sorry, I can't buy it.

RE: Fire protection while docked in Chattanooga recalls the days when the boat docked here at the GREENE LINE wharfboat, Cincinnati Public Landing. My late father was fire official with the City of Cincinnati. For years his domain was the Public Landing the streets adacent from Front up to 3rd St. including deployment of the marine fire boat here. I would 'hope' that the officials in Chattanooga would follow my dad's lead in frequently visiting the DELTA QUEEN [Also the then Str. AVALON and JOHNSON PARTY BOATS], studying the decks and interior spaces, knowing where the closest fire plugs are located, knowing where the outside stand pipe systems are for hooking up to the vessel's interior sprinkler system. Dad did this for years here in Cincinnati and I recall going down with him as a kid several times. Paul and Harris Underwood always were cooperative and welcomed dad's interest and concern for the DELTA QUEEN. Let's not begin painting such a dire picture for the boat within just weeks of arriving in Chattanooga. Jo Ann Schoen is correct in cautioning, "give them a chance."

I'd diplomatically caution not to begin a pattern of 'mixed messages' over this n' that for the boat which would not be good for hotel, banquet, dinner, large groups who must be confirmed 30, 60, 90 days up to a year prior. AMBASSADORS INTERNATIONAL along with Mr. Phillips and his new operation should be the ones to articulate their operation and future needs for the boat via their corporate and Public Relations staff. We're here to give 'support' only. The boat is and has been in corporate hands totally outside of the public domain. I'm more than willing to write letters, attend meetings for a possible exemption process but hope some of the past errors we've seen are not repeated. Please accept all of the above here as a statement of my sincere interest and best wishes for the boat. Time will tell. Let's get beyond the first act of the continuing drama.

Well, what do I know?

Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River.

Bob Reynolds 02-22-2009 10:58 AM

Right you are, Dale, as usual. Any professional fire department checks out all public spaces and learns what they will have to deal with in the event of any emergency, etc. I know in Memphis, all firemen of the responsible station have to make visits and I think they even give them a test on what's what, etc.

Judy Patsch 02-22-2009 12:58 PM

Booking in advance
Regarding Dale's comment about functions having to be booked in advance on the DQ: it is my understanding that the Chattanooga group has the DQ guaranteed to remain there through 2009, and that beyond that will be negotiable. This is only common sense, because while we'd love to have her running again as soon as possible, there is no practical way she could do any part of the '09 season without having any bookings, schedule, crew, etc. by now. So a written guarantee allows them to successfully book events throughout this year. The exemption fight is not dead, but has taken a low key approach, hopefully to avoid incendiary remarks by well-meaning supporters which cast a negative light on the whole campaign. As to other posted comments about letting the Chattanooga group get a chance to succeed: again, who wouldn't prefer to have the DQ plying the Mississippi River system rather than being dockside in Chattanooga - but when did any of us ever get personal communication from MAL leadership which truly committed them to making the DQ succeed? What MAL leader ever showed any personal interest in her? Who from MAL rode her on a lengthy trip in order learn more about her unique qualities? Capt. Phillips has done all this, and in my opinion, deserves us to 'cut him some slack' here. Who knows how this chapter of the Old Gal will turn out, but let's give it a chance. [I]After all, the company's acronym isn't Spanish for 'bad', and that's a good start right there!!![/I]

Capt John 02-22-2009 03:13 PM

As far as a twelve hour schedule not being logistically possible, it definately is, but not on the same routes as the DQ has run in the past. The route would have to be restricted to sections of rivers where towns are close enough to make in twelve hours. For example, a week long trip could consist of seven daylong trips: St. Paul to Wabasha, Wabasha to La Crosse, La Crosse to Dubuque, Dubuque to Moline, Moline to Burlington, Burlington to Hannibal, with a return trip in the opposite direction the following week. It would be a schedule more along the lines of the Julia Belle Swain, Twilight or Celebration Belle, only after a daylong cruise you would sleep on the boat instead of being transported to a local hotel. I would run the boat 8-9 months out of the year and I would keep the boat on the upper Mississippi with special runs on the Ohio and Tennessee a couple times a year. I would not run the lower.

As far as fire fighting, the idea of being connected to a city fire main or having a fire truck stand by would just be throwing a bone to the politicians or Coast Guard. It would be completely unnecessary, but just a gesture to win an exemption. Being tied up at night takes away the "trapped on a wooden boat at sea" scenario. I just hate the idea of these politicians, who weren't even a twinkle in their daddy's eye when the DQ began it's long/safe career, deciding whether or not it is safe on very limited information. And yes, local fire departments are involved in fire training onboard "floating attractions". We had the fire department on several times a year for training and to familiarize themselves with the location of our fire equipment on the casino boats. The fire department also had copies of our deck plans and fire safety plans.

As far as supporting the DQ "Boatel", I will support it 100%, but only after every option for it's continued cruising has been exhausted. If the DQ hotel is successful, what possible reason would they have for it cruising again?!? The longer that boat sits and is not maintained as a boat, the less likely it is that it will EVER cruise again. As has been said many times on here: "once it's gone, it's gone forever." Well, it's getting closer and closer to being gone.

Well, what do I know?

Capt John 02-23-2009 01:25 AM

Another question I have is what kind of crew if any do they have on the DQ? Every boat I know of that still has a COI is required to have a crew whenever passengers are aboard, whether underway or not. When I worked at Par-a-dice in Peoria in the early 1990's, the Spirit of Peoria was used as a restaurant and was wired to the dock and on shore power, it wasn't going anywhere, but the USCG still required a 100 ton master onboard whenever the restaurant was open. Dockside casino boats with a COI must have a crew aboard whenever passengers are aboard. Excursion boats must have a captain aboard for dockside Christmas parties even when frozen in and unable to leave the dock if they wanted to.

So, what kind of crew is the DQ required to have? Also, how long is the COI good for? When was the boat last drydocked? Are they going to continue to conduct quarterly inspections/drills with the Coast Guard to keep the COI valid even as a hotel? As most, if not all of you know, once the COI is allowed to expire on a boat that is only 10-15 years old, it is difficult to get the boat recertified. If the COI on the Delta Queen is allowed to expire, it would be almost impossible to recertify, ending her career as a boat forever.

I'm not trying to be pessimistic, but it seems like a lot of people are saying "let the boat sit as a hotel for a while and somewhere down the line we'll see her cruise again." Without very specific and deliberate action to maintain the COI, it will lapse and the DQ will slip into oblivion as a functioning steamboat.

I hope I'm wrong, but without some sort of action....I'm not.

Alan Bates 02-23-2009 09:07 AM

Rules paraphrased:
Costs shall be satisfactory to the U. S. Coast Guard. If Coast Guard inspection(s) indicate cost levels have not been reached additional crew, repairs, harbor fees, license costs and overhead shall be increased until they [I]are[/I] satisfactory to the U. S. Coast Guard. ;-)

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