Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, November 24, 2017

River Gorge Explorer will log final cruises in January

Aquarium President and CEO Keith Sanford has informed staff and volunteers that cruise operations aboard the River Gorge Explorer on the Tennessee River will end in January after nine years.

“After developing a new strategic plan and carefully evaluating the Aquarium’s resources, we’ve decided to stop operating the boat,” Sanford says.

“We’re proud of our captains and crew, who have consistently delivered a safe and exceptional passenger experience,” he adds.

No one had seen a high-speed, waterjet-propelled vessel operating on an inland waterway before the River Gorge Explorer first docked in Chattanooga in the summer of 2008.  And while adding the River Gorge Explorer to the Aquarium’s operations was an ambitious project, only four percent of the Aquarium’s visitors were reached through this experience.

“It has been a pleasure to oversee the day-to-day operations of the River Gorge Explorer and to have spent so much time on the water with our guests,” Captain Pete Hosemann says. “While I’ll miss piloting this vessel, I do understand the Aquarium’s desire to change direction.”

The Aquarium has mapped out a new course for the organization that’s focused on three core areas:

Science education programs within the Aquarium and IMAX Theater

Conservation science to better understand and protect freshwater ecosystems and the animals that depend upon them

Continued investments in the Aquarium’s overall experience so it remains a top driver for Chattanooga tourism

The River Gorge Explorer will continue operations through Jan. 15, 2018, when the Sandhill Crane Cruises conclude. The Aquarium will then seek a buyer for the vessel.

“We’re grateful for the community support and sponsors who made it possible for us to offer this experience,” Sanford says.

Source: Tennessee Aquarium