The historic steamboat Katahdin, which provides passenger cruises of Moosehead Lake, will be out of commission for at least a week while the damage from a small fire is repaired.

Known affectionately as the Kate, the boat had just started its 12:30 p.m. cruise Friday out of Greenville when a crew member discovered one of the engines was leaking. He told the captain, who immediately turned the boat around, headed for the dock and called the local fire department. The liquid ignited, but the crew used fire extinguishers to put the fire out within minutes.

Fifty-seven passengers and nine crew members were on board the Katahdin at the time. No one was injured.

“The captain made the correct decision,” said George Edmondson, president of the board of directors of the Moosehead Marine Museum, which owns the converted steamboat. “The crew responded to the emergency flawlessly.”

Edmondson said the engine – one of two on the Katahdin – will need to be repaired. No other equipment was damaged. Still, he expects the work will take at least seven days.

“The next seven days are definitely no cruising, and we should know the first of the week whether it will be up and running in a week, or if the repairs are going to take longer,” he said.

The museum has been contacting people who bought their tickets online for that time to arrange a refund. The museum website shows an adult ticket for the three-hour daytime cruise costs $35.

Bath Iron Works built the Katahdin in 1914 as a passenger steamship. It was later outfitted for diesel and used for towing hundreds of thousands of logs across the lake from the Maine woods to the Kennebec River for the annual river drives. The museum acquired the boat in 1977.

Edmonson said Saturday that the crew practices emergency procedures annually with local first responders.

“It certainly paid off yesterday,” he said. “Everybody stayed calm and did the right thing.”

Megan Doyle can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

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Twitter: megan_e_doyle


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