The newest addition to our small fleet is the Navesink Queen - she is Coast Guard inspected to carry up to 150 passengers and is docked in Atlantic Highlands at Franks Pier in slip 65.
What is it?
A Paddle Wheel Boat (Formerly the Elizabeth River Ferry II). Capt. Dannie Schade and his wife Vicky purchased the paddle wheel boat in January of 2019. They brought her up from Norfolk Virginia in February and then spent the winter and summer of 2019 getting her ready to become part of the Classic Boat Rides fleet.
What have we done with her?
Since the purchase, much work has been done to this beauty to restore her to her original glory. Plus, we've enhanced the ship in many ways. Since her original route with her former owners, (Hampton Roads Transit) was less than half an hour, the boat did not have bathrooms, so, we had to build and install brand new ones. Then, of course, we had to do a new stability test and a bunch of other inspections with the Coast Guard before she received a new COI (Certificate of Inspection) to start carrying passengers.
We also installed a new canopy cover on the 2nd floor deck and refinished the entire boat with fresh paint. Since this is a fun boat, we also added a new sound system and a full-service bar.
On the main deck there is both seating and standing areas - we have a few picnic tables and benches to offer a casual dinner cruise for charters. We also plan on fine-tuning the seating arrangements in the heated main cabin space to make it suitable for somewhat casual formal dinners (stay tuned).
How did we end up getting this boat?
We actually won the boat in an online auction that was published on the front page of "Boats and Harbors". After placing the initial bid we checked the online auction site the next day and saw what we thought was a much higher bid than ours. Our hearts sank, as hopes of owning a new paddle wheel boat were dashed... Fast forward to six weeks later and we received what seemed like an odd call from the auction company saying "congratulations - you're the Winning Bidders". When we inquired about the other bidder we were told we were looking at was actually OUR bidder number and not the high bidder price of the boat. So we were the winners of the former Elizabeth River Ferry II. In her past life, she ran service between Norfolk and Hampton Roads Virginia - just a 20-minute ride across the river. The Ferry boat was well maintained but not necessarily loved. We have been giving her some Classic Boat Rides love since we took possession and will continue to do so.
What's in the name?
We got the idea for the name of the boat from my wife Vicky, who is from England, where they have a Queen (once named Elizabeth). We also like to cruise on the Navesink River. We also like the Classic Movie African Queen. So we came up with Navesink Queen. Also of note, our 40 passenger boat the MARINER was built in Deltaville Virginia and ironically was once named the Navesink Queen. Also, Vicky's' Mums name was Elizabeth (Elizabeth River Ferry). We had been searching for a bigger boat for several years and finally the stars aligned and we found the "Queen". We look forward to having your friends and family aboard soon.