President Trump Signs Law Permitting Delta Queen Steamboat’s Return To Overnight Cruise Service

Tuesday, December 4, 2018
Mark Herndon
Mark Herndon
- photo by Delta Queen
A decade-long legislative effort to return the Delta Queen Steamboat to America’s waterways is complete. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump signed a law renewing the vessel’s exemption from the 1966 Safety at Sea Act, allowing her long-awaited return to the nation’s rivers. 

“Today marks the beginning of a new chapter in American steamboat history,” said Leah Ann Ingram, vice president and chief operating officer of the Delta Queen Steamboat Company.
“This was the first big step in returning the Delta Queen to the waterways, where she belongs. The response we have seen from previous passengers and supporters has been overwhelming. We look forward to working with the United States Coast Guard to move the renovations forward.”

The vessel is currently docked in Houma, La., where major repairs will soon be underway.  One of the most significant upgrades will be replacing the boilers, which are original to the boat and were manufactured in 1919. The generators, steam line, heating and air, plumbing and galley will also be replaced. Common areas and staterooms will see various cosmetic updates. In all, the Delta Queen Steamboat Company estimates the repairs will cost between $10 million and $12 million.

“Most of the upgrades will be internal, including the boat’s mechanical systems, but the look and feel will always be that of an authentic 1927 steamboat,” said Cornel Martin, president and chief executive officer of the Delta Queen Steamboat Company. “Preserving the historical integrity of our beloved Queen is very important to us.  Well-appointed furnishings and décor will offer a more comfortable experience while preserving the nostalgic touches her passengers expect.”

When renovations are complete, likely in 2020, themed voyages will resume along the Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, Cumberland, Kanawha, Arkansas and Illinois Rivers. The Delta Queen will travel the same routes as she did before her hiatus, with a few additions. The boat will offer 3-night, 5-night and 7-night cruises.

“We look forward to once again sharing her rich history with our passengers and history enthusiasts throughout America’s Heartland and Deep South,” said Mr. Martin.

In 2008, the Delta Queen was forced to retire from overnight cruise service when her Congressional Exemption from the 1966 Safety at Sea act expired. The law was intended to prohibit ocean-bound vessels from carrying overnight passengers unless completely made of non-combustible materials. Congress approved nine exemptions over four decades to allow the Delta Queen to continue operations until 2008. The President’s action on Tuesday will allow the Delta Queen to remain in overnight cruise service through 2028. 

“We must pause to thank President Trump and the legislators who worked together to grant the Delta Queen permission to cruise again. Without Ohio Congressman Steve Chabot and Missouri Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt, this significant piece of history may have been lost,” said Ms. Ingram.

The Delta Queen is a National Historic Landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places. The steamboat is also included in the National Maritime Hall of Fame and was named a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Alexander Votes To Confirm Cliff Corker As U.S. District Judge For Eastern District Of Tennessee

Mac Evans, 56, Dies From Injuries Sustained In Accident On July 11

Latest Bradley County Arrest Report


Senator Lamar Alexander on Thursday released the following statement on his vote to confirm Tennessean Cliff Corker as a U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee: “Cliff ... (click for more)

Mac Evans, 56, has died from injuries he sustained in an accident on July 11. At approximately 2:31 p.m. on July 11, the Chattanooga Police Traffic Unit responded to 6510 Bonny Oaks Drive ... (click for more)

Click here for the latest Bradley County arrest report. (click for more)


Breaking News

Alexander Votes To Confirm Cliff Corker As U.S. District Judge For Eastern District Of Tennessee

Senator Lamar Alexander on Thursday released the following statement on his vote to confirm Tennessean Cliff Corker as a U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee: “Cliff Corker currently serves as a United States Magistrate Judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. He was selected to serve as a magistrate judge by the District ... (click for more)

Mac Evans, 56, Dies From Injuries Sustained In Accident On July 11

Mac Evans, 56, has died from injuries he sustained in an accident on July 11. At approximately 2:31 p.m. on July 11, the Chattanooga Police Traffic Unit responded to 6510 Bonny Oaks Drive on a serious traffic crash. Mr. Evans who was driving a Ford Explorer was traveling west on Bonny Oaks Drive. David Fields, 59, was in a Ford F-350 traveling east on Bonny Oaks Drive. ... (click for more)

Opinion

Opinion Correction: Erlanger Does Not Offer $20,000 Nurse Signing Bonuses

An opinion in Chattanoogan.com on Monday said Erlanger Health Systems had $20,000 nurse signing bonuses. Erlanger officials said that is another local hospital - not Erlanger. Columnist Roy Exum said, "In a story that I wrote on July 15, “A Nursing Shortage?” I mistakenly identified Erlanger Hospital as one hospital that offers prospective nurses a $20,000 signing bonus. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Use 'Tags' At Erlanger

When I was a senior in high school, the Vietnam catastrophe held the guys who were in my class spellbound. Back then, and has since been proven again and again, the conflict was a terrible error in our nation’s judgment and almost 60,000 young and promising Americans died in some stinking South Asian battle zone that didn’t mean squat to our freedom or our nation’s future. In ... (click for more)

Sports

CFC's Season Ends With 2-0 Loss To Miami; However Founder's Cup Starts In August

The Chattanooga Football Club’s rose-colored season was ended Tuesday night in the oppressive Florida heat against Miami FC, with their championship aspirations wilted by the end of the 2-0 shutout. While Miami dominated possession in the first half, Chattanooga briefly took the lead in the 40th minute. After Caleb Cole regained possession, the talented midfielder made a quick ... (click for more)

Red Wolves' Amponsah Named To USL One Team Of The Week

Chattanooga Red Wolves SC defender Nicholas Amponsah has been named to the USL League One Team of the Week for Week 16 of the league’s inaugural 2019 season. Amponsah scored the game-tying goal for the Red Wolves against Madison in addition to completing 45 of 54 passes, recording five tackles and winning 10 of 13 duels Saturday night. Amponsah leveled the match in the ... (click for more)