Within the last month, bills have been introduced in both the House and Senate which if enacted would renew the expired exemption allowing the steamboat “Delta Queen” to again cruise America’s Rivers without restrictions imposed by the 1966 Safety Of Life At Sea Act which restricted the Delta Queen’s wooden superstructure (the portion of vessel built above the steel hull).

Since 1966, this last remaining authentic overnight steam-powered paddlewheeler received numerous extensions to this exemption up until 2008 when the renewal lapsed as the boat’s then-owner Ambassador’s International ceased their riverboat operations as the company slid toward their eventual bankruptcy.

The historic vessel, a National Historic Landmark, currently resides docked in Chattanooga, Tennessee and is open as a bed and breakfast under a lease agreement with the boat’s current owner Xanterra Parks & Resorts. An investment team is working toward purchasing the vessel from Xanterra and hopes that the congressional exemption renewal could enable he boat to return to river cruising.

You can follow the progress of these bills online:

To follow Senate Bill 1022, CLICK HERE.

To follow House Bill 1961, CLICK HERE.

If the Delta Queen is a treasure that you would like to see continue to preserve steamboat history, certainly contact your Senate and Congressional representatives, the co-sponsors of the bills, and the members of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation and House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, specifically the subcommittee for Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation.

Stay tuned for further updates on these exciting developments!