Launch Boats Coming to Georgetown Canal in July

The National Park Service recently started a Canal Launch Boat Interpretive Program in Williamsport, MD

Though the , residents and visitors will be able to take in the by boat once more when the Canal Launch Boat Interpretive Program comes to Georgetown in July.

Today's launch boats are replicas of those that frequented the canal during the late 19th and early 20th century. The 30-foot boats have room for 12 passengers and are battery-powered.

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The batteries allow for "a silent ride, just like the mule-drawn boats," explained John Noel, a regional spokesperson for the National Park Service.

Noel said many of the staff were "shocked" that boats during that time period had such capable battery-powered motors. 

"It is only when traveling on the canal, on its waters, that one can truly relate to and appreciate the experience of the canawlers who once worked and lived on the canal,” stated C&O Canal Superintendent Kevin Brandt in a press release about the program.

Launch boat rides offered over the Memorial Day weekend in Williamsport, MD marked the first time such boats traveled on the C&O Canal since the original program ended in March 1924.

Noel said the replica launch boat for Georgetown is under construction, but he hopes it will be delivered to Georgetown in early July. After some testing the public should be able to take rides later that same month.

The launch boats will fill a void while NPS seeks funding for a new replica mule-drawn boat.

"It is still the hope of the Parks that we will be able to have another canal boat operating out of Georgetown at some point," said Noel.

The C&O Canal spans 184 miles between Georgetown and Cumberland, MD.


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