Delta Queen's fate rests with legislation - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Delta Queen's fate rests with legislation

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - The Delta Queen may soon be history in Chattanooga.

The certified landmark could be months away from leaving the Scenic City. Our partners at The Times Free Press reported a group of investors plan to move the boat, pending Senate approval.

A Senate bill would allow the almost 90-year-old riverboat to transport passengers over the water once again. That means it would sail the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers but it would no longer be moored on Chattanooga’s north shore.

"It would just be nice if it were working again, doing what it used to do,” said Donne Lowe. "We live on the river and we always enjoyed watching it go down the river. It had a bunch of lights like it was Christmas time so I'd like to see it go down the river rather than sitting here.”

The Delta Queen has traveled more than two million miles during its nine decades on the water. But it’s been docked on the North Shore since 2008. The Safety of Life at Seas Act prohibits wooden boats from carrying more than 50 overnight passengers.

From 1966 to 2008, the Delta Queen was exempt and now legislation looks to reinstate the exemption and get it moving again. It’s already cleared Congress and now awaits a Senate vote.

"It looks sound but it needs a lot of cosmetic fixin up and a lot of work on it. But I think it could be made a nice boat again,” said tourist Freddie Stone.

Tourist Freddie Stone makes note of some needed repairs. Just this past winter, the vessel had water damage when pipes burst and forced its closure.

In 2012, the American Queen steamboat was returned to the Mississippi River for trips after it was docked in 2008 under the same law.

Channel 3’s calls to the riverboat’s reported investor were not immediately returned.

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