This story was updated Oct. 5 at 4:15 p.m. to change year of Delta Queen mooring in Houma, La.
The Delta Queen has been spotlighted as a treasure worth saving.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation has included the steamboat in its 2016 list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.
The annual list spotlights important examples of the nation's architectural and cultural heritage at risk of destruction or irreparable damage, according to the trust. Of the more than 270 sites listed over the past 29 years, fewer than 5 percent have been lost.
Since 2015, the 89-year-old ship has been moored in a Houma, La., swamp, awaiting its fate after spending six years tucked along the riverfront on Chattanooga's North Shore.
The Delta Queen has contended with the so-called "Safety of the Sea" law, designed in 1966 to prevent ships with wooden hulls from carrying passengers overnight. The bill was drafted following a string of tragedies involving ocean-going vessels throughout the 1950s and '60s.
The bill inadvertently affected the steamboat, which received nine consecutive exemptions from the law until Congress failed to renew another 15-year exemption in 2007.
"The Delta Queen serves as one of the last remaining vestiges of a celebrated tradition in our country's history," said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
"Allowing the Delta Queen to traverse our rivers again would restore this unique experience for travelers along our great waterways."
Bipartisan legislation is pending in Congress to reconsider the objection and allow the ship to once again roam the country's waterways overnight with up to 50 passengers.
According to a release from the National Trust, "The legislation identifies a strategy to reduce fire risk and ensure modern safety protocols are implemented for the Delta Queen to operate safely."
The boat's owner, the Delta Queen Steamboat Co., has said there is a plan in place to invest $10 million to repair it, but the company is waiting to see what happens with the legislation first.
"Everything really hinges on that Congressional [action]," Cornel Martin, president and CEO of the Delta Queen Steamboat Co., told the Times Free Press in April.
Martin has endeavored to get the steamboat sailing again for several years and is adamant about the safety of her passengers.
"She's certainly safer than a lot of large hotels — and she's never further than 100 yards from shore," he said. "She operated for 80 years safely."
In its addition of the Delta Queen to this year's list of endangered historic places, the National Trust recognized that the ship is one of the nation's last links to a long history of overnight passenger steamboat travel.
Built in 1926, the Delta Queen carried passengers between Sacramento and San Francisco. The ship also transported and housed troops during World War II before beginning a decades-long career as an overnight cruiser.
"She's still got a lot of life left in her, and she tells the story of our history," Martin said. "It's a part of America that we don't have to let pass away. We're not ready to give up, yet."
Contact staff writer Emmett Gienapp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6731. Follow him on Twitter @emmettgienapp.
The 2016 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places (in alphabetical order):