A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

The River: There are countless steamboats he never worked on — but he would’ve if he could’ve

The riverboat captain is a storyteller, and Captain Don Sanders will be sharing the stories of his long association with the river — from discovery to a way of love and life. This a part of a long and continuing story. By Capt. Don Sanders Special to NKyTribune Of the countless number of steamboats I never worked on, but “would’a if I could’a,”  the most common reason for my absence...

The River: Commanding the P.A. DENNY — and telling the stories of the first adventures

The riverboat captain is a storyteller, and Captain Don Sanders will be sharing the stories of his long association with the river — from discovery to a way of love and life. This a part of a long and continuing story. By Capt. Don Sanders Special to NKyTribune When Cappy Lawson W. Hamilton, Jr. hired me to command the P. A. DENNY, his new stern paddlewheel boat was moored at Port Amherst, West “By...

The River: In between Delta Queen and P.A. DENNY, there was saving historic homes in Covington

The riverboat captain is a storyteller, and Captain Don Sanders will be sharing the stories of his long association with the river — from discovery to a way of love and life. This a part of a long and continuing story. By Don Sanders Special to NKyTribune Although it’s been nearly sixty-seven years since I answered the alluring siren call beckoning me to the river, it’s not like I’ve never...

The River: He hates change — but knows that everything has to change sometime . . .

The riverboat captain is a storyteller, and Captain Don Sanders will be sharing the stories of his long association with the river — from discovery to a way of love and life. This a part of a long and continuing story. By Capt. Don Sanders Special to NKyTribune If one sentence could best describe my general attitude about life, it might be: “I hate change!” Change, though, is inevitable; the...

The River: Sometimes after a storm and rising water, a riverman has to rescue a lost sawhorse

The riverboat captain is a storyteller, and Captain Don Sanders will be sharing the stories of his long association with the river — from discovery to a way of love and life. This a part of a long and continuing story. By Capt. Don Sanders Special to NKyTribune After a huge storm blasted through the area, earlier this month, we found a sawhorse belonging to the CLYDE. blown into the water where...

The River: There are rivermen and there are rivermen, then there’s unforgettable steamboatman Ed Smith

The riverboat captain is a storyteller, and Captain Don Sanders will be sharing the stories of his long association with the river — from discovery to a way of love and life. This a part of a long and continuing story. By Capt. Don Sanders Special to NKyTribune How many tens-of-thousands of men, and a lesser amount of women, have the Mississippi and tributaries rivers caused to labor within their...

The River: The most versatile person on a riverboat crew is the deckhand who has quite a toolkit

By Capt. Don Sanders Special to NKyTribune Perhaps, the most versatile, all-around person on a riverboat crew is the deckhand. They come in all shapes, sizes, colors, degrees of intelligence, and now, sex. Women, as well as men, can occasionally, be seen tossing lines, sooging decks, painting, making locks, and whatever else the mate or captain has in mind to accomplish in what was an all-male world...

The River: Everyone dreams of a paddlewheeler (and there’s much to love), but know they are work

By Capt. Don Sanders Special to NKyTribune Everybody thinks they want a paddlewheeler. “They’re so cute,” someone gushed. Or: “When I win the lottery I’m going to buy me a paddlewheel boat.” But if a rookie dreamer had one, how many would have the faintest clue how much maintenance and upkeep a wooden wheel requires to remain functional and looking smart? Perhaps winning the lottery should...

The River: How to make a handy rope bumper in less than five minutes; just follow these directions

The riverboat captain is a storyteller, and Captain Don Sanders will be sharing the stories of his long association with the river — from discovery to a way of love and life. This a part of a long and continuing story. By Captain Don Sanders Special to NKyTribune Devices used to cushion the blow between a boat’s hull and a dock, lock wall, or another boat: a bumper, or perhaps a fender, or even...

The River: Lament of week — flood waters are coming, flood waters are coming, find higher ground

The riverboat captain is a storyteller, and Captain Don Sanders will be sharing the stories of his long association with the river — from discovery to a way of love and life. This a part of a long and continuing story. By Capt. Don Sanders Special to NKyTribune Flood waters are coming to the Ohio River Valley. As cities, towns, and hamlets prepare for the inevitable, sandbags wait patiently where...

The River: Plenty of tales to tell in whispered tones — some about how to be rid of troublemakers

By Capt. Don Sanders Special to NKyTribune “I killed a couple roustabouts,” the old pilot began with no prompting. The pilothouse, otherwise hushed except for an occasional vibration caused whenever the steamboat found shallow water and labored, abruptly became a confessional for the elderly boatman behind the “sticks” guiding the vessel on the dark and trackless stretch of the Lower Mississippi...

The River: Franko was a drinking man — and there are plenty of memorable stories to tell about him

The riverboat captain is a storyteller, and Captain Don Sanders will be sharing the stories of his long association with the river — from discovery to a way of love and life. This a part of a long and continuing story. By Capt. Don Sanders Special to NKyTribune Franko-the-Capstan-Man, born in Madison, Wisconsin, sailed at sea for many years before he found his way aboard the DELTA QUEEN, in early...

The River: A boy’s life couldn’t get any better — all that mattered was the river and learning all he could

The riverboat captain is a storyteller, and Captain Don Sanders will be sharing the stories of his long association with the river — from discovery to a way of love and life. This a part of a long and continuing story. By Capt. Don Sanders Special to NKyTribune The PAL-O-MINE was at home at the Newport Yacht Club, on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River upstream from the Mouth of the Licking River...

The River: From a young boy terrified of the river to a grown-up who can’t stay away from it

The riverboat captain is a storyteller, and Captain Don Sanders will be sharing the stories of his long association with the river — from discovery to a way of love and life. This a part of a long and continuing story. By Capt. Don Sanders Special to NKyTribune Two rivers bless Covington along its borders – the Ohio and the Licking. Of all the streams I have been on, and that’s a few, the...

The River: As gambling boats go into free-fall in Iowa, Diamond Lady paddles toward uncertainty in Miss.

The riverboat captain is a storyteller, and Captain Don Sanders will be sharing the stories of his long association with the river — from discovery to a way of love and life. This a part of a long and continuing story. By Capt. Don Sanders Special to NKyTribune When I joined the DL’s crew just before the first anniversary of the day I watched as Vanna cut the ribbon on April Fool’s day in 1991,...