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Sistersville icon short a needed crew member for long-term operation

By Staff | Apr 29, 2015

The Sistersville Ferry arrived back at port on Thursday, hitting another snag in a seemingly endless saga.

While the ferry started with two pilots, which is how many are needed to run the ferry on a consistent basis, it appears that one of the pilots has since made the decision not be a pilot.

The Sistersville Ferry Board is currently searching for another replacement, and the Wells Inn has offered free room and board for any candidate that would like to relocate. The Sistersville Ferry is currently taking applications for licensed pilots.

When asked if they would provide training, Ferry Board member Gene Rice responded, “Right now, we need a licensed pilot. We hope to train someone but the process can take two to three years because of the time requirements on the water. If someone has a significant amount of recent experience with boat handling, we can discuss options for training.”

This isn’t the first hang up the Sistersville Ferry has had over the past year.

The ferry had to shut down earlier than planned last season because of a shortage of funds. When the new season was to start up, they had found that they had some repairs to address with not enough funds.

The newly reformed board consisting of Rice, Lisa Leach, Gage, Terry Wiley, Phil Konopacky, Charles Winslow and Eric Peters realized that drastic action must be taken, so they began holding fundraisers.

To date, revenues from the Radio-Thon, private donations, and concerts, along with grant reimbursements, total more than $19,000 to start this ferry season. It is expected to begin operation within the next two weeks.

The daily costs for running the ferry total about $400, which include manpower, fuel, insurance, and maintenance. Repairs for the ferry this year included the transmission on the port engine and the drive shaft.

Once Sistersville Ferry gains an additional licensed pilot, normal operation will resume.

Fundraisers to benefit the Ferry are to come, which include the Lucky Hundred Raffle being held by the Sistersville Lions Club. Each raffle ticket will be sold for $100 and there is no limit to how many tickets can be purchased. Prizes will range from $1,000 to $6,000, depending on how many tickets are sold.

The last day to purchase tickets will be during this summer’s Picnic in the Park Celebration, held in the Sistersville City Park in July. The drawings will take place that evening on the band stage of the pool house. Call Lisa Northcraft at 304-771-9103, Alex King at 304-771-8835, Brandon Chadock at 304-483-1803 or email SistersvilleLC@gmail.com for more information or to purchase tickets.

Also, the Friendly Lions Club is sponsoring a raffle for a new recliner which is provided by King’s Corner, along with a $100 gift certificate. Tickets are $1 each or six for $5. They are available at King’s Corner, IGA, or any Friendly Lions Club member. The drawing will be held May 1.