The Princess Donna was built in 1934. Just imagine the stories she could tell....
She's the oldest operating U.S. flagged commercial tour boat in Florida. A true piece of Florida History.
The average Cost of a new house was $5,970.00 Average wages per year $1,600.00
Cost of a gallon of Gas 10 cents
Average Cost for house rent $20.00 per month
A loaf of Bread 8 cents
A pound of Hamburger Meat 12 cents
A new Studebaker Truck $625.00
These boats were one of the first tourist attractions in the state and people came from all over the country for a boat ride and to view the beautiful pristine natural springs. At the time, Silver Springs was perhaps the most successful and elaborately displayed single tourist attractions in America.
She’s powered by an electric motor just like she was in 1934. At one time this wood boat had 15 sister ships. They were all being phased out beginning in 1961 for aluminum boats that a few still operate to this day at Silver Springs Florida. Our boat is the only operational early circa boat remaining. The US Coast Guard COI is current and allows 12 passengers plus 2 crew aboard. Keeping the COI along with many special regulations in this commercial class is becoming cost prohibitive and I will soon faze it out and operate with only 6 passengers per trip.
This boat operated for nearly 30 years and then left to rot for over 50 years before I found her as an unexpected barn find. It had to be totally rebuild, cost lots of money (a bit over $150,000 to date) and an arduous process to get her approved to operate once again as a US Coast Guard licensed small passenger vessel.
Sadly not many records can be found about these old boats. I don't have any record of the boats original name, just the year. When found, it was named 'Princess Anne' which was definitely not the original name. Carl Ray and W.M. "Shorty" Davidson leased the Silver Springs property for 50 years from Columbus Carmichael starting in July 1924 and records show the following names are all the glass bottom boats Ray & Davidson had listed with the department of commerce between 1930 and 1960 (Merchant Vessels of the United States)
Bonnie Ray, Hannah, Harriet, No Name, Ocala, Ocklawahn, Old Sawannee, Seminole, Silverliner, The Madden, The Richey, Uncle Dave, Walter Ray, Wenona, Bill Blue and Jane.
The boats original name is most likely Harriet, Seminole, The Madden or Winona all made in1934.
FOR SALE: I'm only considering selling her because the water behind our house is loaded with submerged pilings because it was a phosphate pit at one time. I didn't know this when I purchased the property last September. I hit one in 20 feet of water and broke the forward viewing glass. After the recent repairs of the glass I don't feel she's safe docking it here any longer. Contact me if your a serious and financially capable buyer.
Above is the boat operating in December of 2019 with a boat load of passengers as usual at our prior home in beautiful Bokeelia Florida.
My second boat is a 20 foot fiberglass pontoon built in 2016 locally by A&M Manufacturing and then customized in 2021 and made into a glass bottom tour boat.
The boat is fully covered with a double bimini top for your comfort and fitted with 3 individual glass bottom tanks to view the beauty below the surface and powered by a Suzuki DF90A. She is not a USCG inspected small vessel like the Princess Donna so she can only carry up to 6 passengers and 2 crew members per trip.
This boat could also be yours for $32,000 including trailer