By Jack Chavez
(June 10, 2021) The Black Eyed Susan riverboat’s long and arduous journey to Snow Hill will conclude this weekend.
Tomorrow or Saturday, the riverboat will pull into Snow Hill after spending the last few months in Salisbury at the Murtech Marine to undergo various upgrades and repairs.
“We added things that didn’t get completed (earlier in the process),” former Snow Hill Town Manager Gary Weber said. “There were several things that we didn’t have planned but got taken care of. It’s an ordeal to go long distances — the boat moves very slow. In addition to the recommended repairs, we put in all new plexiglass on the second level, painted the floor, got rid of the old nasty peel-and-stick carpet. They painted it and got the floors done.”
Weber left his position with the town this week.
All this occurred after the town sweated it out with Leonardtown to even purchase the boat in 2020.
Weber said it’ll be nice for himself and all those involved with seeing the project through to have the opportunity to enjoy the final product.
“There have been a lot of people involved in getting the boat to Snow Hill and Worcester County,” Weber said. “There will be an event to include anyone who’s helped get the boat here.”
Weber also dispelled some rumors about why boat repairs were taking so long and that the project was doomed — claims from the boat being too tall to pass under fixed bridges and an inability to turn in the open water among them.
“The paddlewheel is not fixed. It’s separated, just like a regular boat with twin screws,” Weber said. “There has been a lot of (criticism) online and on Facebook that isn’t accurate. It’ll be nice to take a ride on the boat myself. (After enduring all of that) I think I deserve it.”
The 111-foot paddlewheel boat itself is nearly 33 feet tall, Weber added, with the lowest bridge it’d have to pass under being 35 feet tall.