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The Hiawatha Riverboat hits the Susquehanna River

It is the Hiawatha's 42nd season in Williamsport.

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — It is finally that time of the year in Williamsport. Crews spent all morning getting the Hiawatha Paddlewheel Riverboat onto the Susquehanna River.

"Allison Crane comes in with their big loader, hooks onto the trailer, and tows us over to the launch ramp and basically backs this 65-foot boat right into the river," said Captain Michael Strunk.

Getting the boat on the water is a four-week planning process. The launch was delayed a few days due to recent rain.

"The launch ramp can't be wet when we back the boat in because we don't really want to see that really nice 65-ton loader drug down the ramp with the brakes on as the boat is pulling it towards the river. So, we need dry weather," said Strunk.

This is the 42nd year for the Hiawatha. Strunk says spots are already filling up for the summer.

"We already have weddings booked for the summer. We have a bunch of specialty cruises. Our princess cruises are sold out already, and our superhero cruise has sold out already. So, a lot of our cruises have sold out, and hopefully, we can add some additional new ones," Strunk added.

Capt. Strunk also expects to see participation closer to pre-pandemic numbers.

"Before COVID, we did 27,000 riders. Last year, we covered just shy of 20,000. Our bus trips are mostly senior citizens, and I think we will start to see those come back this year," Strunk said.

The Hiawatha is set to take sail on Mother's Day weekend.

Tickets for the season can be purchased here.

What a beautiful day to launch the boat! Special thanks to David and Tommy who took the time during their lunch break to...

Posted by Hiawatha Paddlewheel Riverboat on Friday, May 5, 2023

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