Coast Guard grounds Tahoe cruise boat

RENO — The U.S. Coast Guard said Friday that it has halted operations of a popular Lake Tahoe cruise boat for mechanical problems unrelated to the paddle wheeler running aground early New Year’s Day.

No details were immediately disclosed, but the “no sail order” imposed on the Tahoe Queen was taken after Coast Guard inspectors began to investigate whether the boat ran aground or was stalled by high winds at about 12:30 a.m. Thursday.

About 200 New Year’s revelers were stranded for hours in sub-freezing temperatures near a dock in South Lake Tahoe, California. No injuries or structural damage to the boat were reported.

The boat’s captain initially said the vessel did not run aground but later told inspectors that it may have, Coast Guard spokeswoman Amanda Faulkner said. Tahoe Queen officials later said high winds caused the crew to wait for a tug to pull the boat to its dock, Faulkner added.

“A ship of that size has limited maneuverability, and high winds would make it more difficult to maneuver,” Faulkner told The Associated Press.

Philadelphia-based Aramark owns the Tahoe Queen, and its spokesman David Freireich did not respond to requests for comment Friday.

The Tahoe Queen ran aground on a sandbar just off South Lake Tahoe in August, prompting rescuers to evacuate about 300 people aboard. No injuries were reported.

The Mississippi-style paddle wheeler takes tourists on daytime cruises highlighting the lake’s history and night cruises that feature dinner and live music.


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