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Despite the interest in preserving paddle steamers, it has not been possible to do so in every case. These are the vessels lost in recent years



Szoke Tisza

2012 : Szoke Tisza (1917-74), the former Danube cruiser is best known as  Felszabadulas, the name she assumed in 1950, having been IV Karoly, and between 1930 and 1950, Szent Imre. In 1958, 175 berths were built into the vessel as she was assigned to overnight cruises from Budapest. Briefly used as a canteen ship for her owners, she was sold out of the MAHART fleet in 1979 to the city of Szeged for use as a hotel. When owned by a commercial Danube cruising company, partners in the Zoltan Foundation ship museum at Nezsmely, plans were drawn to refurbish her for Danube service, but progress was fraught with technical and financial problems and ownership has new reverted to the Tiszayacht shipyard company at Szeged. Following her sinking in early 2012 as her hull cracked as the surrounding water melted after the winter freeze, the ship's superstructure was scrapped in the late autumn of 2012 although her engines and certain internal fittings were saved. The remains of the hull were left in situ but dragged on to land in early 2020 in another rescue attempt
In January 2024 a contract was awarded to the SAM shipyard at Komarom to build a replica of the vessel incorporating certain parts of the original ship. 
The replica is planned to be a static floating museum and attraction in central Budapest


Former Solent ferry moored near the River Medina at Island Harbour on the Isle of Wight, UK. Gradually deteriorating after years of neglect. High and dry except at exceptional tides. The Paddle Steamer Ryde Trust was set up to try and negotiate her purchase from the administrators of the Island Harbour organisation which owned her and the attached marina, but failed in their efforts. The ship has been allowed to rot and is now well beyond any hope of being saved. One last attempt, in 2018, was abandoned.  Her engines remain aboard.


: Built for the 150th Anniversary of the original Comet, the first commercially successful passenger paddle steamer in Europe, the replica vessel, built in 1962, operated a commemorative reconstruction of her first route - from Glasgow to Helensburgh and back. It was then displayed on the ground in Port Glasgow UK where her engine and the original Comet was built. Despite extensive maintenance in 2011 in advance of Comet's bicentenary, the wooden-hulled vessel continued to deteriorate and was dismanted in 2023. The engine was retained and is in storage

Johann Strauss

2018 : Became a  cafe, moored on the Danube Canal at Vienna (Wien), Austria after her service with DDSG was closed for many years in poor and vandalised condition. Forced to be moved by the Viennese authorities, she was towed to Freudenau harbour on December 15th, 2017 . With no buyers at auction, she was towed to Komarno, Slovakia on 30th August 2018 for scrapping


2011 ? : A former buoy tender vessel, she was latterly laid up in derelict condition on the Danube at Giurgiu, She sailed until 1991. With surviving Escher-Wyss compound diagonal machinery dating from 1903, the ship originally built at Turnu-Severin, attracted the attention of Swiss preservationists with a view to using the hull in a proposed replica of the River Aare paddler Wengi (1856). The Romanian government, however, decided she should remain locally and may now become a museum ship. In August 2010 she was sold to beer and cigarette retailer Nicost SRL of Galati for 7903 Euros at an auction held by the Lower Danube River Administration.
Despite the optimism that she would be renovated for service but there were suggestions, not confirmed, that she been scrapped in Giurgiu in 2011


2010 : The former Lake Como paddler served as a floating restaurant at Lago di Mezzola, with engines and boiler removed. The 1903 Zurich-built steamer had been at Colico between 1970 and 1999 as a restaurant and clubhouse. Out of use, although still owned by the owner of the nearby Restaurant La Barcaccia, she was in severe danger because the local authorities in charge of the Nature Reserve within which she lies have demanded her removal by the end of September 2008 from the lakeside at Verceia. This never happened but she sank at her moorings on 9th December 2010 as severe winds swept the lake.

Lincoln Castle

2010 : Built in 1940 by A&J Inglis of Glasgow for the Hull-New Holland service across the Humber Estuary on England's east coast. She served until 1978, the route being made redundant by what was then the world's longest suspension bridge. She then served as a floating restaurant at Hessle near Hull then at nearby Grimsby on the south bank of the Humber. Closed in 2006 and in need of urgent hull repairs, she was scrapped in September 2010, despite the efforts of a local preservation society to buy her. The owner believed that the cost of repairing the bottom of the ship, itself not easily removable from the dock in Grimsby would have been prohibitive for any party.

Baldo (MV)

2010 : It is suspected that MV Baldo, a former paddle steamer built by Odero in 1900 for use of Lake Garda, Italy, was scrapped. The paddler was converted to being a screw motor ship in 1925 (similarly to the existing Milano on Lake Como), but lost any resemblance to her original profile in 1959 when she was rebuilt to look similar to a number of other motor ships in the Lake Garda fleet. She was still sailing in 2008 but after withdrawal, the most prominent proposal for her future was to sink her as a reef for divers. It is believed that this never happened and the ship was scrapped.

Medway Queen

2006 :  Built in 1924 for the New Medway Steam Packet CO for excursion sailings on the lower Medway and Thames Estuary. the ship was withdrawn after the end of the 1963 season but found further use as a clubhouse on the Isle of Wight. Moved to the Medway by reservationists for restoration, the ship gradually deteriorated faster than work could progress and she was eventually dismantled in 2006. Her compound diagonsl engine was saved and in 2009 work commences to build a brand new replica hull into which the engine was refitted


2003 : Built at the Sormovskiy Shipyard at Nizhny-Novgorod in 1905, the last surviving River Volga paddler was laid up in Pamyat Parizhskoi Kommuny (Nizhniy Novgorod area) for many years . Decommissioned in 1965, the 102.5 metre long paddler was scrapped after failed attempts to find a saviour after being badly destroyed by fire in 2003.
Photos at :


2003 : After 40 years of static use as a restaurant at Geneva, the CGN paddler was scrapped at Ouchy. Although still in reasonable condition, but minus engines and boilers, she needed a refit to maintain an acceptable standard for use as a restaurant and specific financial support from the local cantons was not forthcoming. A decision was made to use available funds for the longer term preservation of the existing operational paddler fleet. Her position at the Jardin Anglais pier in Central Geneva was also a problem : the CGN wanted this berth for its operational services 

Schmilka and  Junger Pionier

2002 saw the final demise of two of the famous Dresden "White Fleet " after many years' lay-up. Although the local operators have, where possible, restored the available paddlers and most of their fleet is now over 100 years old, the condition of these two vessels was beyond economic repair. This was made worse by the act that considerable alterations would have had to have been made to their narrow hulls to meet modern stability regulations. Fortunately the oscillating engines were removed from each vessel and are saved, with the ultimate aim of finding or building new hulls for further use.
Schmilka's stern section still survives at Laubegast dockyard. 

The Laubegast yard on the River Elbe just upstream of Dresden has seen many paddle steamers built and refurbished, including the majority of the current fleet sailing from Dresden, but in 2001 it was host to two paddlers which were not destined for a return to service. In poor condition after many years out of service, it was decided to scrap Schmilka (seen with Junger Pionier behind).
Photo above kindly supplied by John Woodhams who got a magnificent view of the yard from a passing steamer.


2000 : One of the Russian "Project 737" steamers, Budapest (1963-1986), which was withdrawn after boiler failure had been moored at the now disused Obuda shipyard.


1994 : PS Visegrad (1896-1959) sailed on the Hungarian Danube and was originally named Imre before becoming Visegrad in 1912. In 1963 she was established as a hotel moored at Margaret Island in central Budapest used by the Hungarian Trades Unions. Last noted as an accommodation ship for workers at a Gravel excavation site on Lake Balaton. Scrapped in 1994

Reederij op de Lek II

The former Dutch paddler (ex Schoonhaven, built as Culemborg in 1895) served as the clubhouse for the "Rhenus" Rowing club at Andernach on the Rhine in Germany from 1962 to 1999.


Elsinore Princess

2013 : Lake Elsinore, CA, USA.
Hauled overland in 1999 on a three-week road journey from Long Beach (where she had been moored behind RMS Queen Mary) to Lake Elsinore, California, she was originally one of a fleet of 5 ships built in 1923/4 for chewing-gum entrepreneur William Wrigley and named "Princess". Originally with a glass bottom she undertook tours around Catalina Island and was often patronised by the rich and famous. She was sold in 1959 and her glass bottom planked up as a condition of the sale. She sailed around San Pedro and Long Beach until 1994. She was owned by the Lake Elsinore Princess Foundation, in poor condition and land bound apparently after a fall in the level of the lake. She was of wooden construction and a designated Riverside County Historic Landmark since 2007. She was demolished in situ on October 18th, 2013

Admiral  ex- PS Albatross  (diesel conversion)

2011 : One of the most iconic ships moored on the Mississippi, latterly as a casino was scrapped in 2011. "Admiral", a former paddle steamer built in 1907 as a railcar ferry PS Albatross crossing the Mississippi at Vicksburg, was radically redesigned as a luxury passenger ship  in Art-Deco style over 1938-40. The St Louis based cruise ship remained a steam paddler until 1974 when she was converted to diesel and screw. her engines were removed in 1979 after her decommissioning.

Wikipedia page 


2009 : Former railcar ferry on the Detroit river crossing from Detroit to Windsor (Canada) from 1884 into the 1970s, including after an engine failure  in 1970 which meant she had to be towed as a barge. She later served as a floating restaurant at Detroit where its main feature was the railcars stored on her deck. After the restaurant closed she was inactive until moved to Erie in 1999 but remained derelict and sank on December 25th 2005. She was then moved to Buffalo but no progress was made and she was scrapped in 2009.

Wikipedia page

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