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California: Big Bear Pirate Ship is back in action

Waterway and Maritime TransportationTour Operations Industry
Arrrrgh! Pirate ship sails again
Popular tourist vessel's storm damage repaired
Summer voyages are $22, $14 for children

All aboard! The mock pirate ship that sank during a fierce winter storm is back on the low seas of Big Bear Lake.

“We restored the entire ship bow to stern, from the waterline to the top deck,” said Loren Hafen, owner of the Big Bear Pirate Ship.

The popular tourist attraction, a one-third-scale replica of a 16th century Spanish galleon, takes 90-minute summer cruises on Big Bear Lake ($22 for adults and $14 for children). The 43-foot vessel can also be rented for children’s birthday parties, weddings and other special events.

In the winter storm, the vessel's portside hull suffered significant damage. The storm sank the ship, causing the tie-down ring to rip out of the hull and creating a large hole. Besides the restored hull, the pirate ship has two new motors and a renewed cabin.        

Hafen said the vessel, also known as the Time Bandit, dates to 1968 and was a backyard project by a father and son in San Diego. In 1980 the  ship was purchased by Homemade Films for Terry Gilliam’s movie “Time Bandits.” After a stint as a tour boat in Newport Beach, it was brought to Big Bear in 1998.

The vessel is moored at Holloway’s Marina, 398 Edgemoor Road in Big Bear Lake. Walk-ups welcome, but reservations are recommended; (909) 866-5706

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