Health issues have forced the sale, so it’s time a new owner becomes the keeper of this historic boat. The COI is up to date and she just passed her U.S. Coast Guard dry dock hull inspection on May 4, 2020. The COI to operate the boat as a small passenger vessel remains with the boat. The new owner will only have to change the operational route and the USCG will put you thru the mandatory man over board drills etc. If you are not familiar with this or it’s your first time, I will personally get you through the process if your in the area.
Note: If you operate tours on a state lake, river, creek or private body of water outside the jurisdiction of the US Coast Guard you will not need the COI and your passenger count could be 20+, you will also not need to be a USCG licensed Master Captain unless your state requires it.
I will not answer to any inquires outside the USA.
This is a very rare opportunity to buy an historical commercial boat with a current USCG COI. Start your tour operations immediately.
This 1934 original glass bottom boat from Silver Springs Florida is the only remaining fiberglass over wood boat from this bygone era. Imagine the stories she could tell. At 86 years old, she is the oldest commercial tour boat in Florida.
The 'Princess Donna' was completely restored and safely equipped/rebuilt and approved by (MSC) Marine Safety Center to operate as a USCG commercial small passenger vessel. Current USCG COI to operate with 12 passengers + 2 crew members. Current COI’s area of operation is here on Jug Creek in Bokeelia FL. Our previous operational route was for the Homosassa River, Crystal River and the Rainbow River. US Coast Guard sector St. Petersburg has always had jurisdiction of this vessels COI. Changing the area of operation is relatively easy and straight forward but keep in mind the USCG will only approve this boat to operate in protected waters, rivers, creeks, lakes and harbors.
The boat is eco-friendly being powered by an electric motor just as she was originally in 1934. The 48-volt commercial 2015 Ray Electric Motor operates at nearly zero cost to you which means more profits. Brand new batteries 10 months ago and properly maintained will last 5 years. Brand new bottom paint and EPDM roof was also just re-coated. You will never need gas, oil or engine maintenance. It charges overnight just like a golf cart and operates for up to 70 miles on one charge. Same motors currently used at Silver Springs on their newer boats. This boat has been constantly maintained and never neglected.
She's 30 feet LOA, a 9'-2" beam, needs a minimum of 2 feet of water to operate in, 7-foot air draft with hatch down.
A custom-built 2016 aluminum tri-axle trailer from National Trailers is included in this sale that cost $10K. Trailer has less than 500 miles on it. The boat includes all up to date safety equipment to start running tours immediately.
This is a true piece of history and a once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire her.
Survey prior to obtaining the COI was $125k and obtaining the COI cost was quite expensive. Agreed insurance value is the same, and we have more than 150k invested in it. The boat has a Florida title and is also a US Documented vessel.
If you want to make good money in the tour business and want to set yourself aside from every other ordinary boat, look no further, this is it. With limited time we operated this tour business on weekends only and had 90% passenger capacity booked every weekend weather pending and averaged $10k a month gross. Hauled out for annual hull inspection and she is now safely dry stored and will remain that way until sold. If water clarity in your area isn’t great it doesn’t really affect the tours. Our passengers booked because of the historical/unique nature of the boat. It was sometimes shocking how far away our passengers traveled to be on her. We already had bookings into 2021 because she’s so unique.
You, along with a good location and more time will see the true income potential. A real money maker.
We have more info on her history at our website and you can find other history all over the web about these original glass bottom boats. The boats were one of the first tourist attractions in the state at Silver Springs Florida. This boat is the only remaining operational early circa boat from this by-gone era. The boats were all being replaced starting in 1962 with larger aluminum boats that they still operate today.
At one time these boats held 20+ passengers but our boat has a Marad Waiver that immediately limits the boat to 12 passengers.
The boat sat for over 50 years on the hard when we found her. Since these boats were built on private property and operated on private water they never were registered with the state. Our first challenge was for the state to issue a title, which they did and at the time they said it was the oldest original title the state of Florida ever issued. 1934.
In order to operate as a commercial passenger vessel, the boat needed to be documented. This is where the Marad waiver came in. Marad waivers are issued for foreign and unknown builder vessels. Since the boats were built on site at Silver Springs Florida and not by a known named builder it was categorized as an unknown builder which immediately limits the passenger count to 12.
We still had to do a simplified stability test witnessed by the US Coast Guard in order to have a stability letter. The process between the re-build, government approvals, marine engineers and architects, lots of time and money, I'm not sure how I made it through it all.
It was an enormous undertaking that I wouldn't recommend anyone ever repeat.
These boats were originally built on site at Silver Springs Florida for their boat tours. This is the only remaining early circa boat. She is built with a mixture of the original cypress and cedar. The new stringers and chines are pressure treated pine inspected and approved by the Marine Safety Center when rebuilt. The entire boat was re-bolted. The entire hull is re-covered in fiberglass just like it was originally and epoxy fairing compounds. The windows are polycarbonate and tempered glass for safety. The roof material is EPDM rubber.
Every inch of the boat was re-built and approved by MSC which was an expensive and arduous process. Way too much to list here.
The glass in the viewing box is the original pieces. It's 1/2" plate glass. The viewing box is what's considered a moon pool. If the glass was ever to break, the vessel would never take on water.
The boat comes with a custom aluminum boarding ramp.
A simple Garmin GPS/depth finder is on the boat with a thru-hull transducer located at the forward end of the glass viewing box. We never needed navigation but the depth finder is needed. We need a minimum 2 feet of water to operate the vessel.
2014 Ray Electric Motors 48-volt model. Batteries are 1 year old and constantly maintained. Eight 6-volt Trojan batteries with manual watering system.
Battery life is approx. 5 years when maintained properly
Every safety piece of equipment and item necessary by the USCG is aboard the boat and up to date. Too many things to list.
The price is non-negotiable. I instructed my wife that if I go before the boat sells, I want it donated back to Silver Springs and then it will never be available for public sale.
Please reread everything before contacting me with a question that is most likely addressed above.