Flood forces Delta Queen and other attractions to shut down - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Flood forces Delta Queen and other attractions to shut down

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High river levels have put the Delta Queen Hotel and Restaurant temporarily out of business during peak season.

The flood waters are making the historical steamboat and several other water-reliant tourist attractions impossible to get to along Chattanooga's riverfront.   

Delta Queen operators say they had to relocate visitors from around 80 rooms Saturday with word the river was just going to keep rising, sending them to the Chattanooga Choo Choo and notifying everyone with reservations for this week to make other plans. Already so far, they say the flood has cost them tens of thousands of dollars in revenue.

The swollen Tennessee River is keeping the Delta Queen closed off from all visitors. But, the sight of the deserted steamboat is attracting locals who want to see it for themselves and snap a few pictures.
 
"Pretty amazing. Yeah, I mean this is up there," Chattanooga resident Ron Roach said.

"Great boat and great place and everything, but it's crazy seeing it out there like that," Chattanooga resident Joel Beaver said.

"This is crazy," Chattanooga resident Haley Kennedy said.

The Delta Queen's caretakers are staying onboard to tend to the boat.

"We're tied off very well. The moorings are holding very well. I know it looks very treacherous right now just because the water, the gallows are under. There will be some damage I'm sure," Delta Queen caretaker Leah Ann Ingram said.

All three ramps to it are submerged, which means a big revenue hit during prime tourist season. Ingram said it's already added up to around $25,000 lost.

"Oh it's a lot worse this time," Ingram said.

Pete Hosemann is taking his personal canoe out to check on them. He captains the Tennessee Aquarium's River Gorge Explorer that's also shut down until the river recedes.

"All the boats are shut down right now and in July that hurts," Hosemann said.

Blue Moon Cruises and Chattanooga Ducks are also closed. The Southern Belle re-opened Tuesday by traveling farther downstream to board guests.

"Right now we're still about 20 feet above normal pull stage and that affects everything," Marine Max Dock Master Bart Schubert said.

It's also leaving some individual boaters who just came for the Fourth of July holiday stranded until the water returns to a safe level.

"We've turned all the power off to all the docks, all the water systems, and people can't get to their boats right now," Schubert said.

The Delta Queen is currently taking reservations for Saturday. They're hoping they can honor the reservations already made for Friday, though if the water goes down enough. Workers with several other water attractions say they're tentatively planning to get back in business by the weekend, too.

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