Former River Gorge Explorer to serve as water taxi for Facebook
Three months after the River Gorge Explorer’s last voyage on the Tennessee River, we are learning a company purchased it to transport employees to and from Facebook headquarters in California.
The Tennessee Aquarium announced last November that it would stop operating the boat, ending a nine-year-run. Operations were slated to end in January and the boat was put up for sale.
READ MORE | TN Aquarium's River Gorge Explorer to be docked
Channel 3 has learned an independent company purchased the vessel and it will be operated as a water taxi for Facebook employees in the San Francisco Bay area.
“Facebook won’t own the boat, but will be its primary user,” said Thom Benson, spokesperson for the Tennessee Aquarium.
Benson was not able to provide the name of the company that purchased the vessel.
Facebook’s headquarters are located in Menlo Park, California, some 2,400 miles from Chattanooga. Benson did not have information on how the vessel was transported to California.
The high-speed, waterjet-propelled vessel began operations in Chattanooga in 2008. The Tennessee Aquarium said bringing it to Chattanooga was an ambitious project and only about four percent of visitors took advantage of the vessel that provided tours of the Tennessee River.