Posted at: 08/10/2012 4:11 PM
| Updated at: 08/10/2012 7:22 PM
By: Bill Lambdin
Photo: Rich Frederick/WNYT
ALBANY - Inside a large covered shed in the Port of Albany, spray deflectors were being attached to the twin 250 horsepower Honda outboards that will power the Lil' Diamond III.
The 27 ton, 72 foot long aluminum boat was begun in May at the Scarano facility at the Port of Albany.
It's scheduled to travel the Waterford flight of locks on the Erie Canal Saturday morning, making its way to its base in Herkimer.
"Basically we're going to continue our sightseeing cruises like we do every day at one and three on the little boat," said Captain Jerry Gertz. "On this boat we may do the sightseeing cruises at one and three but the big thing that this boat is going to do is private parties, corporate, weddings, rehearsal dinners."
Although the home port is listed as Fort Lauderdale, Captain Jerry tells us the boat will stay here, working the Erie Canal while it is open, spending the off season in a shed, probably in Albany.
There aren't very many commercial boats like this using the canal.
That's one of the criticisms of the waterway, which doesn't come close to covering its expenses with user fees. Thruway toll dollars make up the difference.
There have been complaints, especially with a toll increase pending, but Captain Jerry argues the canal pays its way otherwise.
"But tourism is the big thing," said Captain Jerry. "We're bringing people from Israel, Germany, Ireland."