M/S Mount Washington makes first appearance of the 2013 boat season
The annual cruise and inspection of the vessel by state authorities marks the unofficial beginning of boating season in the Lakes Region.
"This is the kickoff to the boating season. When you hear the horns off the bow, you know it's time to drop your boat in the water," said M/S Mount Washington co-owner and director of marketing Christopher Secord after the ship docked at Center Harbor.
The vessel has called Weirs Beach its home port since 1987.
On Monday, the vessel traveled with 257 guests and crew aboard. Weather conditions were perfect - sunny skies, mild temperatures, and low wind making for a calm ride.
"You couldn't have asked for a better day," said Secord.
This is the day the vessel's owners receive an annual boating license and a right to assemble permit. It's the day the crew tests the engines and conducts high stress turns on the water. And by all accounts, the mechanics and technology operated just as it was designed.
"It was phenomenal," Secord said.
Captain Jim Morash, co-owner and director of operations who has worked with the company for 32 years, said the 2013 season begins with the Mother's Day cruises May 12. Cruises depart from Weirs Beach at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and include a buffet brunch. Children under 5 cruise free.
"The Mother's Day cruises are a tradition. We have families that come year after year," said Morash, adding that maintaining this tradition is important to the company.
The 2013 season marks the 141st anniversary for Mount Washington cruises.
A complete schedule of cruises, themed events and an entertainment schedule can be found online at www.cruisenh.com.
Secord notes that new this year is a hospitality ticket, available at local hotels, resorts and inns, including Mills Falls in Meredith and the Naswa Resort in Weirs Beach. The tickets, sold at a discount, help riders avoid waiting in line at the dock.
New point-of-service registers installed on the vessel accommodate credit and debit card sales.
Acres of summer color, without irrigation