Ok so now I feel old. I realize that a lot of individuals on here probably never had the chance to ride these beloved derelicts. The Keel Boats were the Big River's equivalent to the Jungle Cruise. With the right captain these little floaters were HYSTERICAL. They offered a more personal view and interpretation of the Big River without the sweat of paddling or the sound of an automated voice. It really brought that "country" feeling to Critter Country. While still maintaining a Frontierland feel for the other side of the river! It was themed around Davy Crockett and Mike Fink... really they need these back. The reason they were closed was because of an accident when one was severely overloaded. With today's DOSH standards I'm sure they can be brought back. Here's a couple pics for those who don't remember.
"The Bertha Mae & Gullywhumper Keel Boats circled Tom Sawyer’s Island from 12/25/1955 until 5/17/1997. The Bertha Mae was then auctioned off, but the Gullywhumper can still be seen floating as “decor” on the Rivers of America." --Davewebland
And sadly this is all that's left of that wonderfully adventurous tour.
Here is a detail of the accident
May 17,1997 5:30 p.m.--The Gullywhumper (Keel Boat) loaded with 49 guests (normal maximum capacity is 32) began rocking from side to side while on a routine trip around the island. The Gullywhumper tipped over, dunking a boatload of guests into the Rivers of America. Several guests were treated for minor injuries at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange. Following the accident, the Gullywhumper was removed from the water for inspection.
Pictures provided by http://davelandweb.com/riversofamerica/#keelboats
Report provided by http://www.simpletoremember.com/vita...Disneyland.htm