From the Super Mario Wiki
The Ding Bell is a large, steam-powered boat owned and operated by a sailor named Mark Twang. In The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! episode "Rolling Down the River", Mark Twang uses the Ding Bell in his race against Captain Koopa for the honor of becoming King of the River and presumably, the River World. Unfortunately, Captain Koopa cheated in the race and sabotaged the Ding Bell's engine, severally limiting the speed it can travel at.
It was only when Mark Twang saved Mario and Luigi from a voracious Trouter and brought them aboard the Ding Bell, that the the Ding Bell's engine had a chance to be repaired; Mario and Luigi managed to successfully repair the Ding Bell's engine. With the Ding Bell's engine repaired, Mark Twang was able to catch-up to Captain Koopa and his Sinister Star.
Unfortunately, the Ding Bell's progress in Mark Twang's race to be King of the River was halted once again when Captain Koopa made an impassable black pit in the river with a Black Pit Bob-omb. It was only through the intervention of Mario, Luigi and a "plunger anchor" that the Ding Bell narrowly managed to avoid being sucked into the black pit. The Ding Bell was eventually docked near a portion of land when Mark Twang, Mario and Luigi went to see the Mouth of the River for advice on how to pass the black pit.
After gaining advice from the Mouth of the River, Mario and Luigi managed to create an intricate piping system that drained the water from around the black pit and empty it into a nearby path, separated from the black pit by a wall of rocks. With this new path, the Ding Bell could pass the black pit unhindered.
Much later, the Ding Bell managed to catch-up to the Sinister Star, with Super Mario and Super Luigi powering the device ahead on jump powered pumps. When Mario and Luigi later leaped from the Ding Bell to the Sinister Star, the Ding Bell managed to move ahead of the Sinister Star.
The Ding Bell later appeared to attack the Sinister Star with Turnips fired from a cannon. As Mark Twang maneuvered the Ding Bell, the Mouth of the River fired Turnips at the Sinister Star, with one of these Turnips being accurate enough to hit the Sinister Star's driver, Clawgrip, incapacitating him.