MORRISTOWN — With costs on the rise and passengers on the decline, the last wooden Thousand Islands tour boat will be shutting down.
"At this point in time," said Morristown Boat Lines Manager Ron Wright, "It looks like we won't run the boat next year and will put the boat up for sale."
According to Mr. Wright, the last chance to tour Singer Castle or enjoy a shore dinner or twilight cruise at Josephine's Marina and Bistro aboard Morrisania, built in 1923, will be Saturday.
"The high cost of doing business today, like any small business trying to get started," Mr. Wright said when asked the reason for shutting down. "Also, the high cost of insurance, inspection fees, government regulations, drug tests, docking and storage."
Despite the decision to halt operations, Mr. Wright was quick to acknowledge the support of his patrons. He said this season was a "good year considering the poor weather in July and the slow economy."
Charters for the season were up from seven several years ago to 13, including charters from Waddington, Ogdensburg, Morristown, Oak Point, Blind Bay, Chippewa Bay, private camps and the Dockside Resorts in Morristown. Charter passengers totaled 234. In addition to the chartered voyages, 16 trips were made to Singer Castle for tours in July and August.
"We missed several trips because of bad weather or no passengers to make the trip," Mr. Wright said.
The total passenger count to the castle this summer was 264 this season, according to Mr. Wright, down from nearly 500 last year.
"Our shore dinner and twilight cruise on Friday nights was down also this year," he said.
What wasn't down, according to Mr. Wright, was the capability and performance of the Morrisania.
"She ran good this year," he said of the vessel. "Passed Coast Guard inspection and held up well considering the rain, wind and bad weather."
"We gave it a good try," he said.
For more information on the final cruises, call Mr. Wright at 375-8213.