NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The Barefoot Princess Riverboat will set sail for one last time on Nov. 15.
Sara and Alan Roland, owners and operators of the boat, said they were told by the management staff at Barefoot Landing that the Barefoot Princess Riverboat no longer fits the style and image of the new Barefoot Landing brand.
WMBF News reached out to Barefoot Landing and Burroughs and Chapin for comment on the matter, but have not yet received a response.
The Rolands said they have met with Barefoot Landing management a few times to provide information about the boat's services and operations since May.
The couple took over operations of the riverboat in 2011, and for years have been offered entertainment cruises where you can eat dinner, watch the sunset, or sight-see.
After being told the heartbreaking news, the Rolands decided they had to close up shop at Barefoot Landing and try and find a new home port.
However, after visiting a few different ports, the Rolands concluded that no port or marina has any room for the riverboat, or any of their business partners they have worked to grow over the years.
"We didn't want to lose those. I worked too hard to build those up," Sara Roland said. "It just wasn't fair to them."
The two are especially heartbroken because they said the Barefoot Princess Riverboat is one of the only boat attractions that provides activities for the physically disabled and special needs adults and children, and now they will have nowhere to go.
"In a nutshell, I am very lucky to have something that I'm going to miss so much and it's hard to say goodbye to. The people here that have helped us grow the business will always be right here. That circle of friendship will never go away," Roland said.
The Barefoot Princess Riverboat will now be put up for sale and delivered to a broker in North Carolina, according to Alan Roland.
"It effects the lives of every crew member, every office staff member," he said. "We have as many as 15 employees in the heat of the summer and those guys have to figure out their lives too, because we had a good thing going and its not going anymore, so that's the hard part."