After weeks of lingering negotiations, the potential sale of the Songo River Queen II has been put on hold.

Frank Gerrish, owner and builder of the riverboat, and Keith Fosler of North Maritime Services have decided to wait until a future date to close the sale due to certain “technicalities” that could not be cleared up in time for the start of the tourist season.

“It’s getting into the busy season and we can’t keep dragging our feet,” Gerrish said.

The Songo River Queen II, an authentic Mississippi riverboat, has chartered Naples’ waters for over 20 years now. Gerrish built the original River Queen back in 1970, modeling it after a boat he saw on show in Chicago. After burning at its mooring in 1982, Gerrish worked quickly to design and build a reincarnation of the original, the Songo River Queen II. Since its completion, the Songo River Queen II has been a major attraction in Naples, offering private charters, tours of Long Lake and trips down through the Songo Locks.

“We’re still very interested in it,” Fosler said of the sale. “(But) we didn’t want to break the continuity of service. We’re probably going to have to do this thing off-season.”

Fosler’s business, North Atlantic Maritime, is based in Scarborough and offers boat lessons and charters on Sebago Lake and around the Casco Bay. His partner in the Songo River Queen II venture is Steve Orr who captains the North Atlantic Maritime charters and owns Pizza Time in Westbrook. If they acquire the riverboat, Fosler speculates they may offer theme cruises around Long Lake in addition to the Songo River Queen’s regular charters.

The Songo River Queen II waits at its mooring off the Naples causeway for another tour around the lakes. Negotiations have been put on hold for the sale of the riverboat until the end of the tourist season.

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