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    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.

    Thoughts?

    John

    #2
    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?

    Comment


      #3
      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?

      Comment


        #4
        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?

        Travis

        Comment


          #5
          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.

          Comment


            #6
            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.

            Comment


              #7
              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. After all, the company's acronym isn't Spanish for 'bad', and that's a good start right there!!!

              Comment


                #8
                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?

                Comment


                  #9
                  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.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    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 are satisfactory to the U. S. Coast Guard. ;-)

                    Comment


                      #11
                      DQ's future

                      Originally posted by Capt John View Post

                      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.
                      I presume you're including me in that 'lot of people' due to my posting...Unfortunately that is not correct, because the DQ's COI has expired, her owner has been 'less than enthusiastic' about seeking the exemption, the economy couldn't be worse for a potential buyer, and other factors lead me to be far less optimistic than "somewhere down the line we'll see her cruise again". You mentioned in an earlier post that if she is successful as a hotel, what incentive would there be to run her again? That is certainly true. But if she ISN'T successful as a hotel and she doesn't have the exemption or a new owner, then what? molding away at Perry St. in NOLA again? going down with the MQ? I hope to heck I'm wrong, and to this point I've withheld posting my thoughts about her future, but at some point reality has to be faced...

                      Comment


                        #12
                        DQ's Future

                        I, like everyone on here have all the best wishes for the DQ and the like. She needs to be cruising because as well all know… the absolute worst thing for a boat is to sit. I give you the MQ.

                        However, the reality of the situation is that the current owners do not want the DQ. She is expensive to operate in these times and her profit margins are probably low. All the wishing and grass roots efforts to gain another exemption will unfortunately not go anywhere unless a suitable buyer is found to support the effort for a new exemption. Remember, the dirty secret to the DQ’s exemption not being renewed is that the current owners essentially ran the union off of the boats. The Democrat led congress would not listen to Ambassadors’ case for that reason. When the last big fight for her exemption occurred, it was won because the company was behind it with a great spokesperson who went to Washington.

                        In regards to the COI, they can surrender it to avoid the Coast Guard requirements. Getting it back only requires an inspection with a trained crew.

                        These two HUGE obstacles will have to be overcome before a crew or a COI will return. Hopefully it will happen soon but it doesn’t look good. In the mean time, all we can do is pray and hope.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Casey welcome to the board. If you will look back on old threads there has been lots of discussion on here about the COI and problems.

                          The DQ's COI expired almost 6 months ago and the Coast Guard refused to renew it. That's a lot different than a surrender of a current document. Also IT IS a big deal to get a new COI on a vessel with an expired COI, believe me, I've been there and done that. I recently was involved in getting a new COI on a vessel only 12 years old, spent over $500,000 just bring the vessel up to current requirements. A bad sign is that on checking the Coast Guard sites I now see that the DQ's file is stamped "Vessel out of service". Just one more nail in the coffin.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            As I said in an earlier posting, I will support the Delta Queen Hotel after every option for her continued cruising has been exhausted.

                            I was unaware that the DQ no longer has a valid COI. With that knowledge, I am now ready to fully support the DQ Hotel, because exemption or not, she will never cruise again with passengers.

                            The Delta Queen is no longer a passenger steamboat, she is a floating hotel...sad, but true.

                            I hope I haven't offended anybody with my posts. We are all very passionate about this subject and I didn't mean any harm. This is the end of a lifelong dream for me and it *****!!

                            John

                            Comment


                              #15
                              *We share and talk on this web site.'
                              Steamboating colleagues:
                              Hi, John. Just in from a late meeting here in Cincinnati. Yes, the DELTA QUEEN was brought up around the table. Ideas presented, facts laid out etc. etc. 'Poor boy' Dale Flick sat at a table of men repesenting a cool $700,000,000. I couldn't even make a dent. These high high rollers here don't pull any punches. Now back to 'reality.'

                              Don't worry about posting or "offending anybody." Here we share and exchance ideas and information. May not be what we like to read and hear but that's the way it goes. It "Takes a village to tell a story" and what one doesn't know the other does. Things aren't always read the way they are written. Too many errors have been committed in the past with the DELTA QUEEN campaign but, hopefully, those days are behind us. There will never EVER be another Betty Blake and I can testify to that. Let's wish Mr. Phillips and his current DELTA QUEEN corporate 'boatel' plan the very best. This is all now business outside of the public domain. I understand from close sources he's one hard working gentleman.

                              Well, what do I know?

                              Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River.

                              Comment

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