Canal tour boats return to service after inspections

Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014 7:30 PM
Last updated 11:53 PM
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Two Petersburg boats used for daily guided tours of the Augusta Canal made their way back into the water Tuesday after being on dry land for almost a month for routine inspections.

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Once in the water, Brian Edmonds boards the William Phillips and directs it to the docks across the canal at the Augusta Canal, behind Enterprise Mills where the Boat Tour docks are located.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Once in the water, Brian Edmonds boards the William Phillips and directs it to the docks across the canal at the Augusta Canal, behind Enterprise Mills where the Boat Tour docks are located.

The 65-foot vessels, which look like the boats that once traveled the canal transporting cotton and other items, were out of service from Jan. 30 to Feb. 13 while their hulls were inspected by the Coast Guard.

On Tuesday, a construction crane lifted the boats from their specially built sup­ports on the canal’s south bank near the John C. Calhoun Expressway and placed them back into the water.

The vessels will resume daily tours Saturday.

The custom-built boats have been in service for more than 10 years and must undergo inspection every five years to make sure their hulls are fit for service, Augusta Canal National Heritage Area Marketing Director Rebecca Rogers said.

During inspection, canal staff sand and paint the vessels and perform other required maintenance.

In 10 years of service, Rogers said, the boats have carried more than 165,000 passengers on guided tours. The vessels carry between 17,000 and 20,000 passengers each year.

“We had some people who came up wanting to go on a tour while the boats were being inspected,” Rogers said. “They’ll be glad to know the boats are back.”

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Dixieman
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Dixieman 02/26/14 - 07:41 am
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Great!

These tours are excellent and I highly recommend them. Been several times with my kids and we all loved it.

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