A stroll along the South Saskatchewan River in the summer often offers a glimpse of the Prairie Lily - Saskatoon’s very own riverboat. A fun sighting from land, the ship also delivers a different perspective when cruising the waters that shape the city of Saskatoon. Read on for what makes the Prairie Lily so special and how you can plan your own river excursion.
How to Get Aboard the Prairie Lily
Standard offerings aboard the Prairie Lily include sightseeing cruises, dinner and brunch cruises, or hosting your own special event. New for 2022 is a series of cruises called Saskatooning Sundays which host special guests to share their passion for the city with all those aboard. Explore the history or art scene of the city with a Saskatoon history or art cruise, learn about the natural beauty of the riverside on a nature cruise, or be entertained by actor Tim Feschuck playing the role of eccentric Captain Horatio Ross retelling the story of Saskatoon’s 1908 shipwreck aboard the SS City of Medicine Hat cruise.
Cruises start May 7, 2022. Consult the website or call 306-955-5459 to book the Prairie Lily riverboat excursion.
History of the Prairie Lily
The ship we now know as the Prairie Lily was built in 1989 by Skipperliner in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and was constructed to be truck transportable. The ship was moved by truck to Laughlin, Nevada, and originally operated as a sightseeing and charter boat called the Fiesta Queen on the Colorado River. Prairie River Cruises purchased the boat and moved it to Saskatoon in 2012, renaming the ship at that time. Captain Mike Steckhan, owner and operator of Prairie River Cruises, says “we had her registered in Canada as the Prairie Lily. Most ships are named ‘Queen’ or ‘Princess’ or after flowers. This seemed like an obvious choice for us.”
About the Ship
The Prairie Lily can host up to 119 passengers across its main interior and upper canopy-covered second level, both of which measure 700 square feet. A full-service bar, two cabins, a galley, and two washrooms are located in the climate-controlled lower level. The wheelhouse on the upper deck gives the Captain the best view to navigate the South Saskatchewan River.
Two propellers power the Prairie Lily’s two environmentally rated Marine diesel engines. In addition, the ship has a separate 25,000-watt diesel power generator. Measuring just over 64 feet long and weighing in at 107.5 gross tons, the ship only draws about 3 feet of water and cruises at a speed of about 5 knots.
Getting the Prairie Lily up to Speed
When Prairie River Cruises acquired the Prairie Lily the ship was in good working condition but did require some cosmetic TLC. A number of cosmetic upgrades were done in the first year that the ship was in Saskatoon with each following year including annual upkeep like paint, flooring, and ceiling maintenance. Several mechanical improvements have since been made including having the ship re-engined and installing a new generator to have a more efficient plant on board.
The Owners of the Prairie Lily
Small business owners Captain Mike Steckhan and Joan Steckhan operate Prairie River Cruises and love working together to bring the joy of the Prairie Lily to life every season. Previous to being the Captain of Saskatoon’s most iconic boat, Mike served in Her Majesty's Royal Canadian Naval Reserve for 27 years and retired as a Chief Petty Officer. As a CPA, Joan keeps the business side of the operation in running order and notes that “the community's enthusiasm for the ship is both flattering and fun.”
Saskatooning Sundays: https://theprairielily.com/wp/saskatooning/