Robert and Nick installing the NEW 418 lb.TWIN-DISC gear box

Maintaining and Operating a vintage vessel like Elizabeth Lea takes people from a multitude of backgrounds with unique skillsets. Our volunteer crew is made up of like minded people who are dedicated to the preservation of the boat for future generations as well as educating the General Public on the importance of the inland waterways. Our team has experience as you might expect in vessel maintenance and operation, as well as other areas like social media management, grant writing, non-profits, historic preservation, photography, and much more. We are always looking for volunteers and board members who share our enthusiasm for history and education about the inland waterways and the vessels that transit the river system.


General Maintenance Fund:

($5,000 annual operating budget)

Your gift to the general maintenance fund helps us with annual expenses like slip rental, insurance, oil, fuel, paint, tools, lines, and any other ongoing expenses for the operation of the boat.

Major Projects Fund: 

1) Engine Fund: (estimated at $10,000-$30,000)

Your gift to our engine fund will allow us to rebuild our current Detroit Diesel or to purchase a used/new diesel engine that may comply with emissions standards. Having a reliable engine is of vital importance as we are a single engine boat. A rebuilt or new engine will allow us more confidence for longer trips away from our home port to festivals and other public displays.

2) Hull Replacement Fund: (estimated at $10,000)

Your gift to our hull replacement fund will allow us to replace a different section of the hull on a rolling five year basis. Our current needs are to replace the bottom of compartments 3 and 4 with new ¼” steel plate. Replacing sections of the hull are critical to keeping the boat sea-worthy

Equipment donations:

Maintenance on an eighty year old boat is a challenging endeavor and has required us to rent equipment when needed. As part of our long-term plans for the non-profit we are seeking donations for some support equipment for the boat.

  • Gas/diesel welding machine/generator (trailer mounted preferred)

  • Gas/diesel air compressor (trailer mounted preferred)

  • Sand blasting equipment 

  • Airless paint sprayer


Dock or barge:

(40’x15') estimated cost $40,000


To realize our mission of welcoming the general public on board the boat for tours we need a means to get the public safely on the boat. While many river towns have public docks, many do not. This floating dock or barge would be towed to events by Elizabeth Lea where it would serve not only as a means for people to come on board, but also as a tour staging area. We would like to incorporate displays, relics, and photos of the boat and the river system on board the dock/barge for further educational opportunities for the general public. 

We Need Your Support Today!


On the Ohio River near Lawrenceburg Indiana Photo courtesy of Paul Richardson