NORTH WEBSTER — Dixie Sternwheeler Paddleboat Inc. board of directors made a “sad but necessary decision” Monday evening, May 18. For the first time in 91 years, the Dixie boat will not be offering tours of Webster Lake in 2020.
The detailed regulations for recreation outlined by the state of Indiana, even after July 4, have factored into the decision, a news release said.
There is simply no way to keep passengers 6 feet apart not only on the boat but also while lining up to buy tickets, boarding and leaving the boat. Many people come not only to ride the boat but to see both decks, the historic engine room, buy food at the concession stand, talk to the captain and crew about the history of the boat, etc., the statement said.
When there is live music, they like to dance on the lower deck. Even if everyone remained seated, the benches cannot be fixed 6 feet apart. Everyone always wants their turn to sit in the back and watch the paddlewheel turn in the water.
The benches and railings would have to be disinfected after each cruise. This would not be possible with the present busy schedule and could be harmful to the historic benches.
Responsibility to not only the passengers but the Dixie boat crew had been considered as well. Hence, there was no choice but to shut down the dear Dixie for the complete summer of 2020.
During the 2019 season, the Dixie had 18,000 riders.
Representatives of the Dixie say, “Stay safe and we will see you in 2021.”