Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH) today applauded Senator George Voinovich (R-OH) and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) for introducing legislation to allow the historic Delta Queen steamboat to continue to operate as an overnight passenger vessel. The bill introduced in the Senate today is identical to legislation Chabot introduced last October in the House.
"As I have said many times before, the Delta Queen is an American treasure that needs to be saved," Chabot stated. "I appreciate Senator Voinovich and Senator Brown joining this fight and I look forward to working with them to protect the Delta Queen."
Last year, Chabot introduced bipartisan legislation (H.R. 3852) in the House to allow the Delta Queen to continue to operate as an overnight passenger vessel. The Delta Queen is currently operating under a congressional exemption that is set to expire on November 1, 2008.
The Delta Queen began operating as a sternwheel river steamboat in 1926 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989. For the last 40 years, the Delta Queen has safely operated on the rivers of the U.S. under a congressional exemption due to the paddle wheeler's wooden superstructure not meeting certain regulations specified under the 1966 Safety at Sea Act. While Congress originally intended this law to apply to ocean-going vessels, the Delta Queen, which is never far from shore, was unexpectedly caught-up in these regulations. Recognizing the difference between boats operating on inland waterways and those operating at sea, Congress established the exemption in 1968 and has renewed it on nine separate occasions to allow the Delta Queen to continue overnight passenger cruises.