Great news! On November 27, the House of Representatives passed the Coast Guard Authorization bill (S. 140) which includes provisions that enable the historic Delta Queen steamboat to return to operation as an overnight passenger vessel. The bill will now head to the president’s desk for signature.
This day was years in the making, as the National Trust for Historic Preservation has long worked closely with lawmakers and advocates nationwide to build support for the last remaining sternwheel steamboat—a proud symbol of American commerce and transportation.
For years, the Delta Queen has been hampered by regulations that prevented her from carrying more than 50 overnight passengers. Sailing with a full complement of passengers is essential to the owner’s business model and ability to attract investors to secure her financial future. As National Trust president Stephanie Meeks said in a statement issued shortly after the House vote:
“We are confident that she can again safely provide a unique and enriching overnight experience for current and future generations, while bringing new energy and revenue to the ports she visits along the way. We urge the president to sign this legislation, to set this historic steamship on a new journey, and keep the last vestige of a proud chapter in our American maritime history alive.”
The Delta Queen is currently in storage on Houma, Louisiana. We will keep you posted on efforts to return this American icon to her former glory.