2 February 2023

Chicago Charles' love boats bring a touch of romance to Lake Burley Griffin

| Katrina Condie
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Couple on boat

The historic Love Boats offer a romantic, floating venue for weddings and parties. Photo: Stories by Stevie.

Canberra couples can now say “I do” while cruising the waters of Lake Burley Griffin on a love boat.

Musician Charles Chatain has combined his career as a wedding singer with his passion for historic boats, recently launching Love Boats Canberra.

‘Chicago Charles’, as he’s also known, says small weddings are becoming more popular and his beautifully restored timber boats provide an intimate floating venue for couples and up to 30 guests.

“This is something completely unique for Canberra,” he said.

“Couples can have a floating wedding ceremony while cruising around the lake, then I can drop them off at one of Canberra’s many venues for the reception.”

Charles provides music and serves champagne and canapes on board his largest boat, the 103-year-old MV Reliance, which he has christened “the Jewel of Lake Burley Griffin”.

“It’s a classic beauty and the ultimate small wedding venue, combining timeless style, elegance and stunning views of Canberra,” he added.

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This historic boat has proven popular over the festive season, with Charles hosting corporate Christmas parties and events where he said guests “had a blast”.

“The feedback so far has been amazing,” he added.

The Love Boats can be booked for various daytime or evening events. Charles can pick up and drop off groups around the lake, including The Boat House, The Marion, Pialligo Estate and the Kingston Foreshore.

On New Year’s Eve, 28 lucky passengers enjoyed a bird’s eye view of the fireworks when Charles anchored near the National Carillion.

“It was an amazing experience for everyone on board who had an up close and personal experience,” Charles said.

He’s also planning sunrise breakfast cruises for the balloon festival and is putting together packages for Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.

The boats can be hired for private events, including birthdays and anniversaries in the mornings, at lunchtime or evenings.

While the MV Reliance is already proving a hit, Charles will soon launch two smaller vessels.

His 130-year-old putt putt, Sunbeam, is a beautifully restored classic open-air wooden boat that can cater for up to 12 passengers, with bench seating and a central table for nibbles.

“The Sunbeam is perfect for romantic on-water picnics, hen’s parties, family outings, and to view many of Canberra’s lakeside attractions,” Charles said.

“It can also be used for very small weddings, bridal party photo shoots or to transport guests.”

Charles’ third vessel, Fleetwood, a classic 1950s Chris Craft wooden speedboat will be launched in mid-2023.

“This boat is sleek and exquisitely styled. It’s perfect for photo shoots, proposals or for brides to arrive at their wedding ceremony in style,” he said.

Chicago Charles has been providing live music, DJ services, lighting, sound, audiovisual and photobooths for weddings and venues across Canberra since 2009. He has also coordinated small wedding packages with other vendors, including celebrants, photographers and caterers.

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“My wedding experience, combined with my passion for historic boats, inspired the idea of Love Boats Canberra,” he said.

“This is an exceptional opportunity to provide a memorable option for people looking at Canberra as a unique venue for their wedding, event or simply an exclusive way of experiencing all the city has to offer.

“Love Boats Canberra is an exceptional way to showcase the beauty and design of Canberra from the water, and it will be a unique way to support many other lakeside businesses and events.”

Charles will have one of his Love Boats on show at the Canberra Wedding Expo at the National Convention Centre on Sunday, 5 February and would ‘love’ to meet couples looking for a unique venue to tie the knot.

Check out the brand new Love Boats Canberra website and get onboard the hottest floating venue for your next special event.


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