VIDEO: Chess. Shipbuilding splashes its heaviest riverboat yet

Chesapeake Shipbuilding regularly launches new American Cruise Lines riverboats directly on the Wicomico River in Salisbury, Maryland. And when one of these ships first enters the water from the shipyard, the neighbors are well aware of it.

The company recently launched its new version, American Symphony—the heaviest boat he ever launched at about 20 tons. It’s because American Symphony has been fitted with more system-related materials than any previous ship, said Chesapeake Shipbuilding President Steve McGee bay bulletin.

Deni Mcjilton, who owns a townhouse directly across from the Wicomico from the shipyard, filmed the big splash from her balcony… and we mean big splash. Watch below:

Video: Deni Mcjilton, editing: Cheryl Costello

Mcjilton tells us she and several neighbors watched the launch from their balconies, even though it was 6:30 a.m. on a Monday. Chesapeake Shipbuilding does not publicize upcoming launches due to their responsibility, but they are dispatching staff to private townhouse community property to ensure people stay safe from the dock. Mcjilton says the condo association is notified about 2-3 days before one of the launches (and the accompanying tsunami-like wave) arrives.

This is the third launch she has attended since moving into her townhouse.

“The first launch we saw was such a cool experience for us,” she says. “Hear the lineman scream cut 1 then see the weld, cut 2, final cut, then the horn and the sound of the boat sliding then hitting the water, the more you FEEL the vibration in your feet – there’s nothing like it. And we’ve felt the same excitement with every launch since. The thrill never gets old.

Mcjilton says she enjoys living across the street from the shipyard, despite the skepticism of others. “Watching ships build and be launched from start to finish is something we really enjoy.”

American Symphony is a sister ship of American melody, which Chesapeake Shipbuilding delivered in August 2021. Both vessels are purpose-built for the Mississippi River. They are advertised as having panoramic views and staterooms ranging from 250 to 650 square feet with private balconies and in-room breakfast service.

Chesapeake Shipbuilding announced in January that it would build a dozen new small cruise ships for American Cruise Lines, creating additional jobs in Wicomico County. Cheryl Costello visited the site and saw the construction in progress.

-Meg Walburn Viviano

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