Bon Voyage: Harbor Queen Tour Boat takes maiden voyage at Canalside

Posted at 10:25 AM, Aug 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-13 05:56:21-04

A brand new tour boat made its big debut Friday at Canalside.

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul was on hand to help christen the newest member of the Buffalo River History Tours' fleet -- the Harbor Queen -- a double-decker, multi-hulled boat that will join the Spirit of Buffalo, the River Queen, and the Queen City Bike Ferry in their voyages along Buffalo's waterfront.

Rick and Rich Hilliman are the father-son duo behind Buffalo River History Tours, the company that owns and operates the boats.  They said the addition of the Harbor Queen realizes a vision they've had for years.

"We wanted something a little more versatile so that we could do not only tours, but we could do some evening stuff as well," said Rich Hilliman.

The Harbor Queen will carry passengers on daily informational 90 minute narrated tours of Buffalo's waterfront and feature historical details of city landmarks and the waterway.

The custom design vessel was built in Florida this past winter. It's 63 feet long and 24 feet wide with two outboard engines and a top speed of 28 knots. The ferry can carry up to 149 passengers.

The first batch of passengers embarked on the maiden voyage shortly after Lt. Gov. Hochul broke a bottle of champagne on the hull -- an action meant not only to celebrate the new boat, but the renaissance of Buffalo's waterfront as well.

"Everything that's going on here has created an energy that I for one, along with many other Western New Yorkers, never believed possible in our lifetimes," Hochul said.

Passengers will board the ferry from the dock on the Central Wharf at Canalside. For more information visit the Buffalo River History Tours website here.