Largest Casino/Passenger Boat Delivered By Patti Shipyards To Roberts River Rides

Patti Shipyards, Pensacola, Fla., recently delivered the largest passenger vessel and gambling boat on the Mississippi River to Roberts River Rides of Dubuque, Iowa.

Built at a total cost of $12 million (including gaming equipment) and larger than a football field, the 387- foot riverboat has four passenger decks and is finished in a Victorian era motif. U.S. Coast Guard-certified to carry 2,000 passengers, the Dubuque Casino Belle was reportedly the first American-flagged vessel to receive a license for casino gambling.

"The entire vessel is geared towards the enjoyment of the passenger," said Patti chief engineer Ron Frye. "Our intent was to design something truly special, truly unique. In the Dubuque Casino Belle, I think we have." Although designed to resemble a 19th century sidewheeler, the Dubuque Casino Belle is fitted with a modern screw propulsion. Three Cummins model KTA38-M diesel engines, supplied by Northern Iowa Diesel of Dubuque, produce a total horsepower of 2,400 hp at 1,800 rpm.

Power is transmitted to her three Michigan Work Horse 64-inch-diameter propellers via Aquamet shafting and three ZF BW-251 transmissions.

Made of cast iron construction, the ZF transmissions have engine-matched torsional input couplings to reduce vibration and enhance gear life.

The Dubuque Casino Belle, with a beam of 58 feet, draft of 5 feet, is actually an integrated combination vessel, consisting of a 100-foot power module and 250-foot passenger barge connected by a winch cable system.

She has three casinos, two on her main deck and one on her Hurricane Deck. Her Hurricane Deck also includes a 272-seat theater lounge and bar, as well as the children's play area, and souvenir gift shop.

Management offices are also be located on this deck.

One deck below on the Boiler Deck, passengers have a choice of two dining rooms—the forward dining salon with 292-seat capacity and the larger aft dining salon with 352-seat capacity. Both are be served by a full galley and scullery located aft. Crew quarters and lounge are also located aft.

With the addition of the Dubuque Casino Belle April 1 and the advent of year-round gambling on the Mississippi Belle II, Roberts River Rides employment jumped from 150 in 1990 to 525 in 1991.

During 1990 season, more than 250,000 people cruised with Roberts River Rides, and this number is expected to double this year.

The Dubuque port facility for the Spirit of Dubuque, another Roberts vessel, and the Dubuque Casino Belle adjoins the new Iowa Welcome Center. The $3.5 million building houses ticket offices, eight shops, a lounge and an observation deck.

For free literature detailing the boatbuilding facilities and capabilities of Patti Shipyards, Circle 9 0 on Reader Service Card

Other stories from May 1991 issue


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