Built as recently as 2002 the Herrsching on the Ammersee, close to Munich, represents the ultimate design of the passenger excursion paddle steamer and is the model for which, if I had the money, I would base a new excursion paddle steamer for the UK.
On the main deck are dining saloons forward and aft served by a large kitchen on the lower deck aft.
Much of the promenade deck is covered with an awning to keep off either the rain or the sun but is otherwise open to enjoy the best of summer weather.
The vessel is powered by Diesel hydraulic machinery obviating the need for any skilled steam engineers. The ship also benefits from independently operated paddle wheels plus Shottel units in both the bow and stern thereby making her supremely manoeuvrable and editing out the need for any specialised paddle steamer handling skills.
The domestic passenger vessel market in the UK is very buoyant at the moment with more than 1,000 passenger vessels with MCA Class IV, V and VI Passenger Certificates operating nationwide. Some of their operators build new so why not build new as a paddler?
The Herrsching is about 180ft long so is probably on the big side for most of these business models but how about a half size Herrsching, say under 100ft for the UK market? From enquiries I have made amongst yards which build new domestic passenger vessels for the UK market I think that you could get one at, say 80ft in length, for under £2million which is not a lot of money for a brand new paddle steamer to take us all on through the 21st century.
Kingswear Castle returned to service in 2023 after the first part of a major rebuild which is designed to set her up for the next 25 years running on the River Dart. The Paddle Steamer Kingswear Castle Trust is now fund raising for the second phase of the rebuild. You can read more about the rebuilds and how you can help if you can here.