Help S.L. Alaska Keep Steaming

Due to unprecedented restrictions placed on our operations as a result of Coronavirus, we are sadly facing the prospect of Alaska being out of service for a considerable period.

As the oldest passenger steamer on the Thames, Alaska brings with her considerable upkeep and substantial seasonal costs. The decisions taken by Henley Regatta and Henley Festival to cancel rather than postpone their major events along with the cancellation of all our pre-booked charter work means that if and when a lifting of restrictions allows resumption of river trade this year, we will be left, at best, with a very short season and very limited income earning opportunity in part due to ongoing social distancing requirements severely reducing passenger capacity. We are currently unable to carry out Alaska’s spring refit and surveys and, as things presently stand, we are ineligible for any of the Government’s business assistance grants. It is looking financially more sensible to keep her out of service until next year rather than spend contingency funds for this work if expected income is negligible. We are, both as a company and through trade bodies, lobbying at the highest level for industry specific assistance from the Government as all passenger boat operators on inland and coastal waters are being confronted with similar issues facing high static costs for certification, survey, licensing, mooring, insurance and maintenance and the prospect of low or non-existent income.

We will be devastated if we are unable to get Alaska in service later this year but you can rest assured if suitable funding is forthcoming and the current restrictions are lifted in time, then we will do everything we can to get her certified and operational. We will, of course, keep you updated on any developments. In this time of increased uncertainty, both for individuals and businesses, we hope that the community that has been established through Alaska’s presence on the River Thames can help ensure that we can continue running - not just this season, but for future years. Given many of our costs arise at the start of the season, it is likely financial hardship will be faced at the start of next season as our contingency funding will be used this year. We respectfully ask, therefore, that if at all possible you consider making a donation here to help us keep Alaska running.

Meanwhile, if you find that you now have unexpected time on your hands, why not have a look through any photos and videos you may have of Alaska and share them on our Facebook page, with details of when and where they were taken and any stories or recollections you have. Alaska may not be able to be seen out and about this season, but we hope that by doing this the community that she brings together can continue to thrive.

Stay safe,

Peter Green
Managing Director, Thames Steamers Limited

Find out more about Thames Steamers on our Facebook Page at: https://www.facebook.com/thamessteamers

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Organizer

Peter Green 
Organizer
Oakley, South East England, United Kingdom
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