According the the DELTA QUEEN’s owners, Majestic America Line, congress has denied further exemption for the DELTA QUEEN from SOLAS regulations. This means as of Oct 31, 2008, the last season for this great, historic steamboat as an overnight passenger vessel ends, possibly for ever.
If you feel like we do, that is “THIS CAN’T BE”: Please support the campaign to SAVE THE DELTA QUEEN actively. At least take a moment of your time and send an e-mail of letter to your local senators and representatives (see below how to contact them) and sign our online petition. Express your feelings about how important it is to preserve the DELTA QUEEN as an overnight passenger vessel.
But please, if you can, do more than that. See the dedicated website www.save-the-delta-queen.org for action you can take to help saving the boat.
We can “Save the DELTA QUEEN, again!” As we all know, there is nothing like a boat ride on the DELTA QUEEN!
What’s the problem?
The Delta Queen on the Upper Mississippi River.
more Delta Queen picture
The Str. DELTA QUEEN operates under a special Congressional Exemption from the 1966 Safety of Life at Sea Law (Public Law 89-777). This law forbids any vessel, foreign or domestic, from operating from a United States port carrying over 50 overnight passengers if it is constructed primarily of wood.
Although the DELTA QUEEN has a beautiful superstructure styled and crafted by American craftsmen featuring Oak, Mahogany, Cedar, Teak woods, and extremely rare Siamese Ironbark, she also has 2 complete all steel hulls under her.
To gain exemptions from this law in the past previous owners have spent countless hundreds of thousands of dollars adding fire retardant coatings to the decks, top-of-the-notch modern sprinkler systems, sophisticated electronic monitoring systems, crew training in fire fighting and suppression.
In short, the owners are doing and have always done everything possible to make the DELTA QUEEN the safest possible vessel on the inland rivers of America for our passengers. The current owners, Majestic America Line remain dedicated to continuing this program and are researching and implementing every possible idea and technology to guarantee the continuation of the DELTA QUEEN’s unparalleled safety record.
Delta Queen video portrait (6 minutes).
The National Trust for Historic Preservation recognize the efforts of past and present owners and have placed the DELTA QUEEN on the same prestigious list as our Statue of Liberty, the Washington Monument, and Monticello. She is both a National Historic Landmark and on the list of National Historic Places. The 1927 built DELTA QUEEN is the last of her breed, for she is the last authentic overnight sternwheel-powered steam packet boat (originally serving as a Packet Boat which carried US mail, freight, farm produce, livestock, and passengers between towns on the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers of California). (> read about the history of the Delta Queen in detail).
There was a time where hundreds of these boats were the link for commerce and travel in this country. A time where the rivers were the super highways and the steamboat was the vehicle of that commerce.
Safety of Life at Sea Law
This 1966 Safety of Life at Sea Law (SOLAS) was designed to protect the public from injury in the unlikely event of fire aboard sea-going vessels (sometimes well over 10 miles or more from land) where there is virtually no where to go to escape flames.
Unlike a sea-going vessel, the DELTA QUEEN is never more than a mile from land.
Because she features a forward mounted swinging stage and inflatable emergency boats on the stern she can feasibly unload her passengers to the safety of land virtually anywhere with in moments notice.
Prior to each departure the crew conducts Fire and Abandon Ship drills. Each passenger is trained in the donning and adjusting of their life jackets, introduced to the actual safety-trained crew members who would be stationed in their stateroom area to assist them to safety in the case of actual emergency, and advised of all Abandon Ship procedures. Passengers also sign documentation advising them of the inability of the DELTA QUEEN to meet the guidelines of the 1966 Safety of Life at Sea Law (SOLAS).
No possibility is overlooked in the quest for total onboard safety for all passengers and crew at all times aboard the DELTA QUEEN.
There are annual trainings for all crew members where they train the use of both the chemical and water-based fire fighting equipment aboard the vessel. This is accomplished as a hands-on activity/experience utilizing each type of apparatus. Additionally, there are monthly meetings of each department with safety officials aboard the vessel.
The Navigation, Engineering, and Deck Departments each have extensive additional training in all facets of fire and general safety as prescribed by the company and their United States Coast Guard licensure.
Successful “Save the Delta Queen” campaigns
Former owners have launched “Save the DELTA QUEEN” campaigns with great success.
The late Betty Blake, former President of the Delta Queen Steamboat Company worked tirelessly to get the name and safety record of the boat and her historic legacy into the public forefront in her 1970 public relations campaign to “Save the Queen”. (> steamboats.com has the detailed story about this “Save the Queen” campaign).
She was featured on television shows, newspapers, and any other media she could find to get people to write their Congressmen to sponsor a bill to Save the DELTA QUEEN from the 1966 Safety of Life at Sea Law (SOLAS). Her hard and selfless work has saved the boat from this law for well over 30 years.
In 2001 Phyllis Dale, last of the “Red Hot Mama’s” and a former DELTA QUEEN Entertainer, launched the first internet campaign, “Save Our Queens” when the future of the owners of the company at that particular time was in doubt.
These courageous ladies, no doubt have made it possible for at least two more generations to participate in one of the true pioneering ways of life in this country.
Today it is time to “Save the DELTA QUEEN” again.
Please help continue the historic legacy of this boat and together lets once again step up to he proverbial bat and save what these great Steamboaters of our time have worked so hard for.
As you can see from walking her decks, every possible measure has been taken to assure the safety of those aboard with every modern apparatus available. Allowing her to continue will not endanger the public … no, it will continue the great American legacy known as the steamboat.
This is the only way to guarantee our children and grandchildren get to see and physically enjoy this grand tradition of our American history.
With out her, the cry “Steamboat a comin'” will become a museum piece and a way of life will disappear never to return.
Contact your Senators and Representatives!
We’ve got the request from some senators and representatives that they prefer that you only contact the senators and representatives representing the state you’re actually living in. You’ll find your senators here: www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm and your representatives here: www.house.gov/.
Thanks for supporting the “Save the Delta Queen” campaign.