A new way to enjoy and help the Savannah River at same time


News 12 at 11 o'clock / Tuesday, May 14, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Sunny days are great for a boat ride. Nothing can go wrong when it's calm, breezy and the weather is perfect. If you're boating on the Savannah River, you can see downtown Augusta in the distance, but the Riverkeeper wants you to experience Augusta from their new boat.

"We are sitting right now in a 47-foot houseboat. Her name is Mrs. Tybee," said Tonya Bonitatibus.

The Savannah Riverkeeper's job is keeping the river fun and safe for everyone, but now they are going to add a whole lot more fun to it. A houseboat was donated to the Riverkeeper by someone who wants to remain anonymous.

Bonitatibus, executive director of the program, says she knew exactly what to do with Mrs. Tybee when she saw her.

"We are in the process of chartering this boat out. We are hoping to offer some supper club type of things and having local chefs come in and try their hand at wild game," she said.

The Riverkeeper says the options are endless with Mrs. Tybee, but more importantly, it gets people a closeup look of the river and the creatures that call it home.

And if you're wondering why it may be important to know what's in the river, Bonitatibus has the answer.

"1.4 million people drink out of this river every single day. 6.8 million tons of affluents in a year, so there's a very fine balance between making sure all the different needs of the river are met," she said.

Bonitatibus says the Savannah River is the fourth most toxic in the nation, and it's also a big economic driving force for the whole region.

"We've really got to do a better job in making sure we are really using the best technology available and that we are cutting down discharges as much as we can," she said.

You can use the houseboat for more than just dinner cruises. Bonitatibus says folks have called about having meetings on it and even a wedding. It all starts this June.


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