Saturday’s collision will keep the Belle of Louisville steamboat docked for the rest of its season.
On Saturday, a gust of wind blew the Belle into a dry dock. Four passengers sustained minor injuries and the ship’s paddlewheel was damaged. The Belle is set to be winterized at the end of the month and the wheel must be repaired by then. The vessel must also remained dockside while the U.S. Coast Guard investigates the crash.
“The Belle was scheduled to close down at the end of October anyway,” says Belle CEO Linda Harris. “That is the end of her season. As I said, winter is not good for a steamship, all of her pipes have to be drained and winterized. She does not operate in the winter.”
The Guard has given the steamboat’s crew a drug test, but Harris says that’s a routine part of the investigation.
“We do random drug tests on all of our crew as part of a Coast Guard policy and we rarely, rarely have any problems with that,” she says.
The Guard is also investigating pilot procedures and weather conditions on the day of the crash. The investigation is expected to take one to two months.