The Dixie Belle has a new home on the Bridgewater Channel. Move-in day, however, is still several months away.
It has been more than a decade since the iconic paddle-wheeler prowled Lake Havasu’s waters, but after years of restoration work, the boat may finally be ready to make its new splash.
Aaron Ashbaugh and Keith Fernung helped install new pilings and docks for the Dixie Belle outside London Bridge Resort on Wednesday afternoon. According to Rick Powell, a photographer who has been documenting the Dixie Belle’s restoration, all eight pilings should be completed by noon today. The boat will then await certification by the Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard, which could take up to 90 days, he said.
Fernung bought the boat with his dad, Rick, from the London Bridge Resort in 2010.
The 68-ton boat was built in 1983 and was used for sightseeing tours and to host special events. The Dixie Belle is currently dry-docked in a vacant lot on Kiowa Boulevard.
Fernung and Ashbaugh hope to have it back in the water by March 1, Powell said.