Henrietta to remain in Wilmington while new owners seek buyer

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Henrietta III was set to head to Florida earlier this month but the new owners decided to keep it docked in downtown Wilmington until they find a buyer. Courtesy photo.
Henrietta III was set to head to Florida earlier this month but the new owners decided to keep it docked in downtown Wilmington until they find a buyer. Courtesy photo.

The Henrietta III won’t be leaving local waters just yet.

Although it may get a new temporary home along the downtown’s riverfront at Port City Marina, the iconic red and white charter boat, currently still at its Water Street spot near Dock, will remain in Wilmington awhile longer than expected.

It was set to leave for Fort Myers, Florida at the start of this month after being purchased by Pleasure Boat Cruises Corporation. But Henrietta’s buyer is reselling the riverboat, according to company co-owner John Pledger, and isn’t going anywhere until it is purchased.

“The boat is going to pretty much stay there,” Pledger said. “We are looking at putting it over at Port City Marina, and if someone local ended up buying it, they could probably just operate it right out of the marina.”

Pledger, who owns Pleasure Boat Cruises and Captain JP Cruises with his sister, Julia, said they bought the boat from Cape Fear Riverboats with the intent to put it back up for sale. The siblings both operate charter trips and then carry the mortgage for buyers.

They acquired the Henrietta in January from Captain Carl Marshburn, president and owner of Cape Fear Riverboats, who has plans to replace it with a smaller riverboat better suited for private charters, sightseeing and nature cruises. Marshburn originally brought the Henrietta II to Wilmington in 1988 and replaced it in 2000 with the larger Henrietta III, which is touted as the largest riverboat in the state.

Pledger has the vessel listed at $900,000 – with a lease purchase payment of $12,000 per month – on the Captain JP Cruises’ website. He said he has recently gotten interest from someone in Montreal and another person in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Both potential buyers are heading to Wilmington in the next several weeks to have a look at the Henrietta in person, he added.

Hilary Snow is a reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at hilary.s@portcitydaily.com.