It will need to be a buyer with vision who takes on the purchase of the 111-foot stern-wheeler paddleboat the Black-Eyed Susan.
The paddleboat is currently owned by the Town of Snow Hill, Maryland, the county seat of Worcester County. The town acquired it in 2020 with the intention of giving tours of the Pocomoke River and serving dinner aboard. But a Coast Guard inspection to secure a Coast Guard operating permit in 2022 found it needed a staggering $600,000 in repairs to be seaworthy and operate at capacity. Those cost estimates are likely even higher now, the town says. So, like many boat owners who get in over their heads, they’ve decided to sell.
The Request for Proposals (RFP) states, “The Mayor and Town Council have determined that the expense of repairing the boat, coupled with the estimated annual cost of maintenance and repair, have made continuing to own and operate the Black-Eyed Susan not in the best interests of the taxpayers and residents of Snow Hill.”
Built in 1989 as a working stern-wheeled paddleboat and decorated in a Victorian style, the vessel draws four feet of water and has two decks for entertaining, plus a galley with service for 150 diners, four restrooms and wet bars. A prior sale listing stated, “the Black-Eyed Susan is in good condition and is well suited for dining cruises, charters and sightseeing events.”
The boat is being sold in as-is condition and a successful bidder will need to remove it from the town dock within 30 days at their own expense. Shoppers can inspect the paddleboat onsite with 24 hours’ notice to the Town Manager’s office.
The town of Snow Hill will accept sealed bids/proposals for the purchase of the Black-Eyed Susan until 4:00 PM on Tuesday, October 3, 2023 at the Snow Hill Town Hall, 103 Bank Street, Snow Hill, Maryland, 21863 where they will be opened publicly and the proposer’s name read aloud.
-Meg Walburn Viviano