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Location: Las Vegas
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Lakers spend more time in restricted waters (harbors, rivers, and locks) than salt water vessels. The increased visibilty afforded by pilot house forward was essential in the early days of shipping. Since lakers last 2-3 times longer than salties (50-60 years vs 20-25 years) and pilot house forward was functional, there was no reason for any changes. However, several factors combined to induce the change in the middle 1970's. One was the need for newer small boats as all the older boats were being scrapped. A second was likely the experience gained with bow thrusters in the 1960's. A third was likely improved audio and visual communication between a watchman on the bow and an aft located pilot house. Fourth, and likely the most important factor, was the realization that it is cheaper to build a boat with all accomodations located aft. The first boats with all accomodations aft were the River Class boats like the Sam Laud, the Buffalo, the Wolverine, the Paul Thayer, the William R. Roesch, the Fred R. White, and the American Republic.
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