Did you know that the Port of Houston offers free boat tours of the Port? Leisurely 90-minute tours along the Houston Ship Channel are offered at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and at 2:30 p.m. on Thursdays and Sundays. (There are no cruises on Mondays.)
Although Houston is technically an inland city (50 miles from the Gulf of Mexico) the port is ranked first in the United States in foreign waterborne tonnage and second in the U.S. in total tonnage. More than 225 million tons of cargo moved through the Port of Houston in 2007. A total of 8,053 vessel calls were recorded at the Port of Houston during the year 2008.
On the tour you will see international cargo vessels, and operations at the port’s Turning Basin Terminal. Measuring 95 feet in length and 24 feet in width, the tour boat, the M/V Sam Houston, carries a maximum capacity of 90 passengers with air-conditioned lounge seating and additional standing room on the boat’s rear deck. You never know what vessels you will see in port during your tour, but you will see amazing ships and even bits of history, such as the spot where Santa Ana is said to have surrendered.
The tour is free, but reservations are required at least 24 hours in advance. Get your reservations far in advance during summer months, when the tours may be booked solid weeks in advance.
Register online anytime, or call 713-670-2416, Monday through Thursday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Because of security at the Port, you should plan on arriving at least 15 – 30 minutes before your scheduled tour, and you should not bring oversized bags or camera equipments. Photographs may not be taken during the tour.