Chicago Fireboat Tours are back
Chicagoans and tourists alike can hop on board the Fred A. Busse for a cruise while learning about the history of the fireboat. The Fred A. Busse was built in 1936 and at the time was the largest, diesel-powered fireboat in the world. The ship went on to serve the Chicago Fire Department from 1937 to 1981. It was specially built to fit under Chicago’s bridges while cutting response times for emergencies in the city. At the same time, the boat helped to ease congestion in the city’s traffic.When the Fred A. Busse retired from the Chicago Fire Department, it was converted into a passenger vessel. At that time, the boat operated tours in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, for almost 20 years. The boat is owned by Ray Novak and Erich Totsch, both Navy veterans and licensed captains who renovated the fireboat. Now, the Fred A. Busse is back to cruising the waterways of her home city once more.
Besides enjoying a cruise with views of Chicago, passengers can visit a miniature museum on board, with photos, artifacts and firefighting equipment from its time in service.
About cruises on Fred A. BusseTourists and locals alike can enjoy historical and architectural cruises, heading through the Chicago Locks and onto the Chicago River. Along the way, an expert tour guide explains the various highlights of the city’s architecture.
Alternatively, on Thursday nights, Sunset Brew Cruises offer the same beautiful views of the city’s skyline, but this time backed with a beautiful sunset on the lakefront. Along the way, passengers get to taste Phase Three Brewing’s newly released ales and lagers.
How much do the Chicago Fireboat Tours cost?Tickets range from $40 to $45 for adults, with discounts for veterans, seniors, military, first responders and children. Each tour and cruise runs for one and a half to two hours, docking at DuSable Harbor. Onboard, passengers will have access to a cash bar, serving wine, cocktails, beer and other refreshments.
Talking to ABC7 Chicago on Sunday, Totsch said that on the family-friendly boat tours, kids can learn about fire and maritime safety. They even get the chance to try out the fire extinguishers themselves, as the adults enjoy the views from the lake and river.
Supporting veteransNot only is the Fred A. Busse offering wonderful tours and cruises, but Chicago Fireboat Tours is also a 100 percent veteran-owned company. The company receives assistance from Veteran Business Project, a non-profit that helps veteran entrepreneurs start new businesses.
Both Totsch and Novak served in the Navy, on different ships out of San Diego. Totsch served for five and a half years. Meanwhile, Novak served for four years. Between the two of them, they were deployed overseas five times. However, after leaving the service, their passion for being out on the water never left them, leading to where they are today, offering Chicago Fireboat Tours.
Meanwhile, both owners are planning to give back by donating some of the ticket sales to help veterans in need. Chicago Fireboat Tours will also donate to organizations supporting families of fallen first responders.
Try out a Chicago Fireboat Tour on your next visit to the windy city. Not only will you enjoy the cruise, you will know you are helping worthwhile causes.
Visit the Chicago Fireboat Tours website for more information and to book online.