Editor's Note: The word "modern" was inserted in the first paragraph to clarify the capsizing's place in New York maritime history.

The tour boat at the center of the worst maritime disaster in New York's modern history is for sale.

The Ethan Allen is being offered on the boat website usedboats.com for $40,950. A Newburgh tour boat company owner who bought it after the accident said this week that he has put it up for sale since a contract to use it for tours on the Hudson River fell through.

The boat capsized on Lake George on Oct. 3, 2005, resulting in the drowning deaths of 20 elderly passengers. Years of lawsuits followed, and the owner, John Panzella, said he bought the boat once it was no longer encumbered by litigation.

The boat tipped over because it was overloaded, and the state drastically cut the passenger limit for it and other tour boats in the state after the tragedy.

Panzella, who owns and operates River Rose Cruises in Newburgh, said he bought it while it was at Scarano Boat Builders of Albany. Scarano was the company that put a wood-and-glass canopy on the boat in 1989.

That canopy was initially blamed for some of the boat's instability, but the portion of a federal wrongful death lawsuit that pertained to Scarano was dismissed because of a lack of evidence. Scarano's owners had contended the canopy improved the boat's stability.

Panzella would not say from whom he bought the boat. The boat was owned by Shoreline Cruises when it tipped over and was taken out of service in 2005.

The online advertisement for the boat indicates it is in Ontario, Canada, but Panzella said it is in Scarano's boat yard.

Scarano co-owner John Scarano said Wednesday that Panzella did not buy the boat from his company, but he would not discuss the matter further.

Panzella said he was aware of the boat's history when he purchased it. Scarano put a new engine in the boat, and Panzella said he paid to have the transmission replaced.

"Mechanically, the boat is a 10. There's nothing wrong with it," he said. "The boat is a beauty."

Panzella said the 46-year-old Dyer boat was made by a company renowned for making solid, sturdy craft.

The boat's name is not visible in the photos on the website, but its state registration number is evident.

The boat is subject to a new passenger limit in light of the capsizing - and a stability test performed on its sister boat, the de Champlain, found it should carry no more than 14 people - but Panzella said he was told it could carry 26 or more if the wooden canopy was removed.

He said selling the boat is no different than selling a house that has been the scene of a tragedy.

"That was an awful thing that happened, but people buy houses all the time where people died," he said.

The boat has been listed for sale for a couple of months, and he has gotten one call from someone from Lake George who recognized it.

"He wasn't interested," Panzella said.

A lawsuit against the state in the state Court of Claims is still pending and is scheduled for trial next spring.

Shoreline Cruises, which owned and operated the Ethan Allen when it capsized in 2005, still owns the Ethan Allen's sister boat, the de Champlain. It has not been used for tours since the tragedy.

A phone message left for Shoreline's president, James Quirk, was not returned Wednesday afternoon.


(12) comments


This was the worst maritime disaster in New York History. Not to minimize the scale of the tragedy on Lake George, but get your facts straight.



If it sells all the monies should go to a memorial to the victims. If it were me I would want to see it burnt or blown up. Is it me or does anyone else find selling this thing as MORBID and SICK? If anything it should be used as a tool for learning on how a day of enjoyment can turn to hell in a hand basket just like that. So sad. I know where it is kept covered and wondered why it wasn't destroyed. Now I know. It's just not right.


If you click through to view the advertisement and look under the description tab, it lists the capacity at 48 passengers and 2 crew members...

Shouldn't this be revised??? ...after such a terrible accident


The Park Commission and the Village charge licencing fees to secure public safety, they failed in protecting the public.


Honestly? And right here at the holidays? Is there no respect for the families of those who lost their lives in this boat? The seller needs to be introduced to empathy and most certainly should question this decision! This act is unconscionable! What are people thinking these days? There clearly was no thought given to others. What will be done with the proceeds? Every penny should go toward the families of those lost. Merry Christmas!


what salem7 said, over 1000 died in PS General Slocum, many children


Show me the "Boat Fax."

Sceptical Mass

There's some bad karma for the asking.


Being old has its blessings,some of us had real history teachers.Over a thousand lives lost on the Genral Slocum,This Mishap doesn't hold a candle to that!As a Captian, Coast Gaurd approved for over 31 foot and some one who operated boats off the coast of Alaska for our goverment,I would not consider Lake george to be a difficult lake to navigate.My opinion of this is the boat was simply overloaded and should have been recertified when it was modified.Loss of life,regardless of number is always a tragedy but this one could have been avoided.Any ship builder should have known that the weight of the new canopy should have been deducted from the capacity.My cocerns would be not the sale of the boat,but have both boats been recertified as to capacity so as to prevent further loss of life!


It really needs to go to the Adirondack Museum. Gets it off the waters, serves as an object lesson and memorial.


The boat should have been destroyed by the Shoreline people. When and for how much did they sell it for; and where did that money go? The guy selling it now is a different person who bought it after the incident. Why should this guy donate the money to anything? The article also says it has been for sale for a couple of months which takes away LGhome's argument that the current owner is insensitive for trying to sell this during the holidays. Does anyone fully read these articles before commenting?


The listing I saw (spec. sheet) listed the capacity as "0" and that she sleeps "0" but you are correct LibertyandFreedom, the description page does list it as 48+2. Even in its original (pre-altered) configuration this is untrue. Because of changes made in Coast Guard Regs.
The fact is, Dyer Boats are very well made and are thought highly of in the tour boat industry. The Ethan Allen and her sister ships the Algonquin and De Champlain were altered to increase profitability. If it were passenger comfort or safety there would have been a re-certification. (be it at the former USCG standard)That is just how it goes.
As for Jim Quirk, I don't have anything good to say about him.

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