Following is the text from a press release back in 1995:
After two years of construction (including site
preparations, launching, and installation of mooring facilities) the 240'x78'
sternwheel propelled vessel was completed and started cruises on April 15,
"BRANSON BELLE", built on the shore of Table Rock Lake, is the
largest vessel constructed outside of a shipyard.
She is also the first theater vessel constructed in recent history, and
one of the largest T-Boats ever designed.
She will conduct Dinner/Theater cruises from Silver Dollar City's new
WHITE RIVER LANDING development near Branson, Missouri.
The serving of meals on a 3-tiered theater posed, by itself, quite a
design challenge. Besides the
below deck galley, each of the three passenger deck levels has its own service
galley. A service elevator
connects and serves all four levels.
noise control from outside sources is of prime importance in the theater
world, isolation of engine room noise was critical.
This vessel proves that, with proper engineering, even the noise
generated by a pair of 2-cycle GM 16 V 92 TI's can be sufficiently controlled.
Another design challenge was the HVAC system.
Providing proper air distribution for both the performers and the
passengers, at a very low noise level. These
design criteria were successfully met, and even during the recent Mid-Western
heatwave, the system kept the vessel cool.
The "no smoking" vessel is equipped with 260 tons of Air
Conditioning, and meets all applicable ASHRAE standards.
"BRANSON BELLE" is operating proof that sternwheelers, even with as
low a length-to-beam ratio as 3.13:1, can reach safe operating speeds.
The often speedy early Western Rivers sternwheelers generally had
length-to- beam ratios of 6 or more. Still,
at a full load displacement of 1350 long tons, and with 500 h.p. driving each
of the two paddlewheels, the vessel's speed exceeds 10 knots.
The drive system, designed by Propulsion Systems, Inc., consists of an
electric motor driving each paddlewheel through a planetary gear with double
reductions, totalling a 35.4:1 ratio.
paddlewheels are 24 feet in diameter, 16 feet wide, and have seventeen 2"
thick x 24" wide buckets. Maneuverability
is further supplemented by 350 h.p. bow and stern thrusters, manufactured by
Schottel. The electric drives for
the thrusters were also furnished by Propulsion Systems, Inc.
Marine Construction, Inc. (based in Springfield, Missouri) completed the
vessel on time and within budget.
Theater, which has three main tiers and many sub-tiers of seating, is 108 feet
long, 33 feet high, and 74 feet wide. All
700 seats provide an unobstructed view of the stage.
The total passenger capacity is 1,000.
were provided by Pacific Coast Marine, joiner doors by Henze, and Detroit
Diesel generator sets by Total Generator Service, Inc.
U.S. Constructors were the elevator vendors, HVAC equipment by Carrier
Transicold with installation by Edie Mechanical and On Site Marine.
The sprinkler system was designed and installed by Grinnel Fire
Protection Systems, Inc.
the years, DeJong & Lebet, Inc., has designed a number of vessels that
were constructed "on-site". They
include a 120 foot dinner vessel in Grove, Oklahoma, two 145 foot gaming
vessels in Aurora, Illinois, and more recently the lengthening of one of the
Aurora vessels from 145 feet to 224 feet.
WHITE RIVER LANDING consists of a
"period village" which houses shops, restaurants and entertainment
facilities. The "BRANSON
BELLE" is an extension of this complex.
the docking pier with the land facility are a combination of fixed and
semi-fixed walkways to accomodate the significant rise and fall of the lake