For the first time since launching, Saskatoon’s beloved riverboat is docking on dry land.
The Prairie Lily started her slow voyage to shore Friday morning, and proved a challenge to pull from the water.
“In Saskatoon, we don’t have a dry dock, so we’ve got a house mover that’s come and they’ve got a specially-built trailer,” explained Joan Steckhan, vice-president and co-owner of The Prairie Lily.
Crews then used towing lines to drag the 70-tonne boat out of the water. But after several hours, they decided modifications were needed on the trailer.
The process started all over again Saturday morning and by around noon The Prairie Lily finally made it onto dry land.
“It’s always interesting and awkward when you do something like this,” Steckhan laughed.
The extensive move is part of Transport Canada safety regulations that a ship’s hull be thoroughly inspected every five years.
“Then we’re going to do some general maintenance and just make sure everything is okay for the next five years,” Steckhan said.
It’s the first time the boat has been taken out of the water since The Prairie Lily launched in spring 2012.
“It’s exciting for us just to see how she’s doing,” Steckhan said. “She does an awful lot of work for us in the summertime, she’s really popular.”
Steckhan said business was really good in 2017 and is looking to add more cruise times next season.
The Prairie Lily rides along the South Saskatchewan River for six months a year, with anywhere from two to four trips daily.
People can see the riverboat at its usual dock next to the former Mendel Art Gallery, across from Kinsmen Park, on Spadina Crescent.
The Prairie Lily is expected to be back in the water within a week.
– With files from Celine Grimard.