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Views from inside the Mary Carroll, a new riverboat in Havre de Grace. (Bryna Zumer / BSMG)

After the Lantern Queen Riverboat surprised many by retiring two years ago, a new "party boat" has started sailing on the Susquehanna River from Havre de Grace.

Capt. Casey Beers unveiled the picturesque, three-deck Mary Carol riverboat in early September, opening it up to events and special rides from its base at the Havre de Grace Marina on Water Street.

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The Mary Carol has a capacity of 600 and seats 240 and cruises between Concord Point at the mouth of river north to Lee's Landing in Port Deposit.

The boat has stayed busy with bookings every week, Beers said Wednesday

Although he opened late in the season, Beers hopes to stay in Havre de Grace for the long haul and is planning special events on the boat, like a live music cruise Saturday and a New Year's Eve Bash.

"We pretty much have events booked through October and November," Beers, a Baltimore County native, said.

He has no connection to the Lantern Queen, which hosted events for 18 years before its owners decided to shut down.

"This was originally dubbed the Annabel Lee in 1988. It came out of Louisiana," Beers said, pointing out a plaque inside the ship identifying it as Annabel Lee built by Service Marine Industries Inc. in Morgan City, La.

"It's powered by twin Detroits [engines], so the paddle wheel is actually for decoration but it does work, thanks to Chris Scarlato, the owner of Havre de Grace Marina, and myself," Beers said. "We spent several days replacing steel and wood so that it could be functional again when the boat arrived in Havre de Grace. Our power plants (generators) are 200 kilowatt Detroits."

Beers explained his friend Damion Stewart was also a captain on the paddle boat – Stewart works at Baltimore's Moran Tug – and "got me interested in the dinner boat business."

Beers took possession of the boat, which he is leasing, in June, and started doing all the repairs at Deckelman's Boat Yard in Essex while waiting for permanent dockage.

"After a month of no luck on dockage, an offer in Havre de Grace, at Havre de Grace Marina, came available so we took it," he said.

Beers also works with his friend and entertainment manager Brett Kulikowski, as well as childhood friend Erin Watson, who manages the Mary Carol's food and bar.

He said he has enjoyed being in Havre de Grace and believes the market is definitely there for a boat like his.

"It's beautiful. I mean, the scenery is unbelievable. It's a very tight-knit town," he said of the city, adding that the town administration has been very helpful.

"It's like being in Mayberry. It's a very small-town feel," he said.

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