Julia Belle Swain

General Specifications

JBS Floor Plans

NameJulia Belle Swain
BuilderDubuque Boat & Boiler Works
USCG CertifiedIn Process
USCG Dry DockOctober 2026
Passenger Capacity149
Dining Capacity128
Gross Tonnage98
Net Tonnage85
Speed (approx.) 
Beammolded 23′, over guards 26′
Hull Depth5.7′
DraftWater: 3.3′; Air: 46.9’
Route CertificationRivers
Hull MaterialSteel
Deckhouse MaterialAluminum
Tank CapacitiesFuel: 2,680 gallons (NEW)
Waste: 640 gallons
Water – Potable: 1,150 gallons (NEW)
Water – Boiler: 1,150 gallons (NEW)


  • Pneumatic controlled the steam valve (open or closed) and wheel direction (forward or reverse)
  • Barker Barge Line refinished wood helm wheel – not installed
  • Brass fog bell – not installed
  • Air train whistle – not installed


  • Two 99 kW Marathon Electric Magnaplus three phase generators each powered by a dedicated John Deere model PE4045 AFM85 marine diesel engines (NEW)
  • Hours – September 2021 port: 0, Starboard: 0
  • 100-amp, 240 VAC three phase electrical service
  • Power Panels generators & distribution switchboard, three phase, 4 wire, 60 HZ generators for non-parallel operation (NEW)
  • Perko battery selector switches


  • ¼”” welded steel plate hull with transverse framing
  • Six compartments formed by five transverse bulkheads
  • Two stacks with filigree – (not installed)
  • Windows and doors (NEW)
  • Jack Staff
  • Two masts
  • Two stages each with a boom (not installed)


  • Two Gillett & Eaton 200 hp double-acting simplex (single stage) 12” bore and 60-inch stroke with adjustable position condensing engines (rebuilt 2015)
  • Engine hours – September 2021 – 0
  • Vapor Power International model FNC2-4748-AHK (NEW) flash-type steam generator (boiler) provides steam at 185 psig
  • Fernstrum model D8135U-ZE1 grid cooler system (NEW)
  • Wet exhaust
  • Two AO Smith water heaters (NEW)
  • Water softener (NEW)
  • 21’ diameter, 16’ wide sternwheel – sprockets, spoke, sixteen buckets & timbers (not assembled)
  • Two remanufactured Pitman Arms
  • Reverse Osmosis system
  • Three ¼” steel rudders forward of the sternwheel
  • Auxiliary power provided by a John Deere 300 hp model 6068 AFM85 marine diesel engine, raw water cooled, ZF marine gear 2.269:1, 2.5” stainless steel shaft, Johnson Duramax model 1787-0212 stuffing box, and a 28” propeller (ALL NEW)
  • Dometic 15 ton forced two stage chilled water system with reverse heat with two Well-X-Troll pressure tanks (ALL NEW)
  • Four Dometic deck mount air conditioning units (NEW)
  • IMTRA Side-Power 63 hp model SAC386-520/520 bow thruster (NEW)
  • Bruno Industries model VPL03200B vertical lift (NEW)


  • The vessel has two head lockers, neither has been outfitted


  • 0 type I adult size personal flotation devices
  • 0 type I child size personal flotation devices
  • 0 Jim Buoy 30” life rings
  • 0 illuminated float lights
  • 0 – A-II fire extinguishers
  • 0 – B-I fire extinguisher
  • 0 – Fixed CO2 system – engine room
  • 0 – Pyrotechnic distress signals
  • 0 – Fire Ax
  • 0 – Anchor
  • 0 – 2 fire stations including: approved rubber lined hoses with brass fittings, brass or bronze nozzles, brass or bronze hose bibs


  • Exterior coating: paint
  • Exterior decks: paint
  • Interior decks:
    • Salon: NONE
    • Heads: NONE
    • Galley: NONE
    • Wheelhouse: NONE
    • Bar: NONE
  • Bulkheads:
    • Galley: NONE
    • Salon: NONE
    • Heads: NONE

Accommodations & Layout

The Vessel is arranged on the main deck with a beverage bar & galley forward, open air deck space for passengers amidships with viewable propulsion space aft.  The Boiler (01) deck offers a climate-controlled cabin, proposed beverage bar aft and passenger space forward.  The Hurricane (02) deck has a climate-controlled cabin with proposed passenger seating via tables and chairs as well as open air space for passengers.  The wheelhouse is above the Hurricane Deck and does not offer passenger accommodations.  She has completed a majority of a massive renovation with many new or rebuilt systems.  She is offered as is where is.


This is an opportunity to own one of the last steam operated paddlewheel vessels in North America (others being the American Queen, Belle of Louisville, Minnehaha, African Queen, Sabino, Katahdin, and Natchez.  She appeared in the 1973 movie Tom Sawyer and in the 1974 movie Huckleberry Finn.  In 1976 she won the Great Riverboat Race near Louisville, KY beating the Delta Queen & Belle of Louisville.  She was the last vessel built by Dubuque Boat & Boiler Works

The JULIA BELLE SWAIN is in process, she underwent a major renovation in 2013 to 2016.  In excess of $2,600,000 has been invested in her renovation.

In order to achieve a current USCG COI it will require an additional investment of approximately $900,000.

If you so desire we have a team assembled that could continue the renovation onto completion.