Lake Assault river barges arrive in San Antonio and are placed into service on iconic River Walk

Each of the Lake Assault river barges on the San Antonio River Walk can be configured and modified to support touring, dining, commuting, entertaining and other applications.

Lake Assault Boats—working out of Fraser Shipyard in Superior, Wisconsin—delivered 24 of the 43 custom river barges purchased by the City of San Antonio, Texas. The custom boats are a vital and integral component of the vibrant San Antonio River Walk that lies one story below the city’s streets, hugging the San Antonio River and connecting retail stores, restaurants, office buildings and major tourist attractions. The boats will serve as touring and dining vessels and also as water taxis.

The 24 barges arrived on a caravan of 12 semi-trucks and were unloaded via crane directly into the San Antonio River that flows through downtown. The remaining barges in the fleet will be delivered by the end of November.

“We worked closely with Lake Assault and our architect to refine the design and build the best product possible,” said John Jacks, Director of the City of San Antonio’s Center City Development and Operations Department. “Lake Assault has done a great job of staying within our budget, adjusting to design changes along the way and meeting some very tight deadlines. Working with them has been a great experience.”

“We are very excited that the custom river barges of our first caravan delivery are in the water and serving citizens of San Antonio and the visitors to its incredible River Walk,” said Chad DuMars, Lake Assault Boats Vice President of Operations. “The entire process with the city—from design and prototype testing through full-scale production and delivery—has gone very smoothly. We couldn’t be more pleased and look forward to seeing the entire fleet in its new home.”

Jacks added: “Whenever we have national media attention—for basketball games or other major events—the coverage always showcases the River Walk and our signature river barges. These boats will serve millions of people for decades to come.”

The fleet consists of five distinct barge rail patterns and can be configured in a range of floor plans to support touring, dining, commuting, entertaining, special events and other applications. For example, the Children’s Ballet of San Antonio gave an onboard promotional performance of its upcoming “Swan Lake” production to River Walk visitors. The modular deck design allows for different layouts of tables, chairs and booths. The flat deck enables easy entrance and exit. Programmable LED lighting creates a stunning visual display.

The boats are designed with care for the environment and sustainability as a top priority. Each includes an innovative Torqeedo brand 10kW outboard electric motor, with power supplied by 16 lithium batteries. Recharging the batteries is an automatic process that only requires the operator to plug the boat in to shore power.

Maritime Editorial