The U.S. Coast Guard-approved Showboat Branson Belle is the largest vessel constructed outside of a shipyard and the largest ship on a landlocked lake in the United States.
The boat was constructed at its port at White River Landing and was launched on August 12, 1994. The boat was launched into Table Rock Lake on launching rails that were lubricated with two tons of bananas at a speed of 14 knots. The bananas were used for lubrication, because it was a biodegradable material that would not pollute Table Rock Lake like grease would have.
After two years of construction the 240′ x 78′ vessel propelled by a stern wheel was completed and started cruises on April 15, 1995. The boat, built, owned and operated by Herschend Family Entertainment, is the first theater vessel constructed in recent history, and one of the largest T-Boats ever designed. The boat conducts dinner theater cruises up to three times daily on the beautiful Table Rock Lake.
The Theater, which has three main tiers and many sub-tiers of seating, is 108 feet long, 33 feet high, and 74 feet wide. All 700 seats provide an unobstructed view of the stage. The total passenger capacity is 1,000. The boat features state-of-the-art audio, video and lighting systems in addition to stage rigging and special effects.
SG Integration (now Paragon 360) was contracted for audio, video, lighting and rigging systems and boat-wide exterior PA system in addition to distributed audio systems at the wharf area at the landing, leading to the boats entrance.