The Spirit of Dubuque Moving to New Home

DUBUQUE, Iowa  --  A paddle boat historic to many Dubuque community members will no longer be residing there.

The Spirit of Dubuque paddle boat sails to its new home, and as KWWL's Shirley Descorbeth reports, some people are upset about the move.

After 34 years of cruising the Mississippi River, the Spirit of Dubuque has moved on. The most recent owners, Walt Webster and his wife Nancy, decided to sell the boat.

"It's a time in our lives where we need to move on. We've been doing it for 24 years," said Walt.

The vessel now making its way to its new home in Cincinnati, Ohio.

This is not an overnight decision, though; they were trying to sell the boat for five years.

"We endeavored to keep the boat in Dubuque, that was the primary goal, but it just didn't work out that way," said Walt. "Everybody wanted the boat here, but nobody wanted to buy it."

The boat attracted people from all over wanting to enjoy the views and breeze of the Mississippi. Marina management say river tourism will be affected by its departure.

"The paddle boat was a big draw for tourism here in the port of Dubuque, and it'll be sadly missed," said Ben Alden.

The boat's former captain will miss those days, too.

"It was fun. It was enjoyable," said Walt. "Yeah, there were days it was challenging, but I got to go for a boat ride every day. What more do you want out of life?"

Right now, the Spirit of Dubuque Gift Shop is still open. Anyone with gift certificates for the boat should contact the office regarding questions about their use.

*Video courtesy of KWWL.