POST FALLS, Idaho — A $5 million upgrade to the fleet of Coeur d’Alene Cruises is expected to be wrapped up by July 4, as reported by our news partner the Coeur d'Alene Press.
“It was time for a complete overhaul of the entire fleet,” said Craig Brosenne, president of the Hagadone Marine Group. “This was the last piece off it. You couldn’t do it all at once. You had to do it in pieces over the last two and a half years.”
The Coeur d’Alene, 105 feet long and weighing 250,000 pounds, has been undergoing improvements over the past three weeks at Finney Boat Works.
When it’s finished, it will join the rest of the fleet - Osprey, Mish-an-Nock, Spirit of Coeur d’Alene and Kootenai — in ferrying passengers on lake tours in time for what is projected to be a record-setting summer.
Owner Fred Finney said they are widening the boat to 28 feet from 23 1/2, and putting in an extra watertight bulkhead to increase its capacity back to what it used to be before the U.S. Coast Guard implemented regulations that restricted the number of people on a vessel.
He said the changes include turning one compartment of the hull into two compartments.
“When he’s done with this retrofit the two largest boats will handle 400 passengers,” Brosenne said.
About 10 years ago, the Coast Guard came out with new Assumed Average Weight per Person that put the new figure at 185 pounds, up 25 pounds from 160 pounds, which was the weight used for about 50 years.
“Because the average American weighs significantly more than the assumed average weight per person utilized in current regulations, this update will more accurately reflect today’s average weight per person and will maintain intended safety levels by accounting for this weight increase,” the Coast Guard wrote.
The Coeur d’Alene was built by Fred Finney 43 years ago at his boat yard on the Spokane River. It was his first and he’s proud of it.
“It will be going for another 100 years after we’re done here,” he said.
Ryan Ramsvig is the welder on the project. To accommodate the additional weight of the width expansion, Ramsvig said they removed some steel sections.
“We’re adding weight so we have to decrease weight,” he said.
Brosenne said the fleet of Lake Coeur d’Alene Cruises is a big part of Lake Coeur d’Alene and its history.
He said a busy summer season is planned, with more than 2,000 cruises scheduled. They are projecting a record July with cruises, passengers and revenues.
The ongoing upgrades included engines, generators and other key parts, putting the boats into “impeccable shape,” Brosenne said.
The Coeur d'Alene Press is a KREM 2 news partner. For more from our news partner, click here.