The Delta Queen is a steamboat, a sternwheeler, and one of the last of its kind still navigating the Mississippi River and its tributaries. It was built in California in 1927, carried overnight passengers in the Western Rivers system for years, and was re-fitted as a minesweeper in World War II. Since 1946, the Delta Queen has sailed up and down the Mississippi River carrying travellers - seven days from St. Louis to St. Paul, twelve days from St. Louis to New Orleans. Most of us have seen it.
According to a letter I recently received from David Giersdorf of Majestic America Line, we may not see the Delta Queen again. That’s because carrying river passengers on the Delta Queen requires a special Congressional exemption to the federal Safety of Life at Sea Act, because its superstructure is made of wood.
Although it has gotten several exemptions in the past, it is not certain that the Delta Queen will receive another. Hence, the letter from Giersdorf to the mayor of a river city.
The Delta Queen’s owners assert that their steamboat is safe, adequately regulated, and staffed by a well-trained crew. According to them, there has never been a fatality aboard the Delta Queen.
I am not maritime safety expert, but I like the idea of historic steamboats paddling on the Mississippi. If you agree, call or write to your representatives in Congress.