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How Would You Do It ??????? (2)

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    Alan, Fire up the Tandy 1000 and work up a theory for a Diesel propelled Hull that would admeasure (I know, an absurdy) of not more than 99 GRT (DT) to accommodate "staterooms" of approx 144 sg ft or smaller with two beds that could be make up as one or seperated for a "double" with a closet and drawers for 7 days clothes (no formal attire required). All activities casual.

    Think of what a Railroad Dining car galley could produce "from scratch" using pressed logs for fuel to feed 48 at a time in glorious years past. Table service preferred. Limited bar choices. Try to maintain the "KISS" theory as much as possible.

    Easy on the frills such as TV, bath robes and 800 count sheets. Plan a 7 day schedule for the most part, some possibly 10 day trips say St Louis to New Orleans using the boat as a hotel, maybe one night in NOLA.

    The boat MUST be less than 100 GRT for crewing reasons.

    Small detail of course is the funds to build/convert such a vessel and numbers crunching as to passenger ratio to investment return on the $.

    No paddlewheel real or imagined, for cost/maintenance reasons. Only one DDE carried to keep machinery running---probably would not be required on COI but good practice.

    Sell "See America First!"


      I'd like to make it public - if I haven't already - that I volunteered to use my lunch time when the DELTA QUEEN was in Louisville to give tours to "shore" folks, so they could see what it was all about. Never got a response from the home office. Imagine that!


        Do you have any idea why those people lined up to tour the boat? What was the main attraction? These were just ordinary folks. Was it the paddlewheel, steam power, the lure of adventure, to see what's around the bend, or the whole package? I'm pretty sure that what kept most of them from actually taking a trip was the price. So keeping down costs would be a top priority. It occurs to me that two boats, one economical and the other, all the bells and whistles, (and paddlewheel), would be an interesting experiment.

        And, just an observation, but I wish I had a $1 for every photo taken of a paddlewheel, because then I could probably buy the Delta Queen and afford to run it as a private yacht.


          Sorry Paul didn't mean to strike a nerve. I was on the QOTW in '95 and that is how things went. It is nice to hear that things changed.

          Back then deckhands were even in a tip pool, which I thought was ridiculous. Deckhands were paid $25/ day plus tip pool. (Stewards got a bigger slice of the pie) On the average deckhands made maybe $50/day total. The system was very unfair. There were some weeks deckhands din't even make minimum wage. I was told that was the same as Delta Queen. I knew that was nonsense. I am from Cincinnati originaly, still living there at the time and I knew what deckhands made on the DQ at the time. If I remember DQ deckhands were making around $85-95/day (I might be a little off).

          What is amazing is 15 years later, no matter what part of the industry, deckhands don't make much more. I really think deckhands deserve more credit than they are usaully given. When I was decking it was struggle even single. I see deckhands now that work for me supporting families on what they make and I just don't understand it. I would have never been able to do that when I was on deck.


            Originally posted by JLee Baer View Post
            Sorry Paul didn't mean to strike a nerve. I was on the QOTW in '95 and that is how things went. It is nice to hear that things changed.
            No problem, JLee and I totally understand your frustration about deckhands. But since most Captains started as deckhands, I guess you can call it an entry level position with all the disadvantages that go along with that.

            I worked on a boat that goes to Key West everyday. It's a small operation and I decked in addition to being the entertainer. It was part of the job. Exciting too, sometimes, especially when trying to tie her off at the dock port side to, in high winds with the wind coming at you from that same side.

            And the "nerve" you touched was the idea that entertainers never did anything. But that's a discussion for another thread and another time.



              Jim , I respectfully disagree !

              Jim ,
              First of all , thanks so much for your comments and interesting points of view . Having said that I must respectfully disagree on a few points .
              First of all , I believe that a paddlewheel is an essential item for any river passenger vessel that hopes to lure both the foreign and domestic potential passengers alike . In my opinion there is just something magical and mystical about a paddlewheel and if for no other reason it is a major item that would clearly seperate a river steamer from a cruise ship . Futhermore , its just simply " Americana " to have a paddlewheel on a river boat ! I'd leave it up th the engineers to model this paddelwheel in any form or fashion that they deem best to accomplish this goal .
              Secondly , I believe that the presence of steam is essential to also lure the potential passengers as well . Also , this steam could power the whistle , which is also a must , and or a caliope as well . Point three , I believe that it is essential to strike some form of a " sweet heart " union contract inorder to placate the unions and more importantly to aquire their support and assistance to get Congress to once again exempt the Delta Queen from the Safety At Sea law .
              These are just a few more oif my thoughts on this subject and I certainly do welcome one and all to express their points of view . Who knows just possibly some large corporation will one day ressurect the Delta Queen and apply these same thoughts to successfully run a Western Rivers steamboth company once again .

              Originally posted by Jim Reising View Post
              Thought it would be best to start a new thread on this. There were many interesting and valid points brought out in the last discussion, some of which might merit further elaboration.
              Kenny Howe and I were talking about this today and we were wondering a couple of things......
              1. Why a paddlewheel? We both believe that in todays world a paddlewheel is not much of a passenger draw. We both agreed that on the TWILIGHT trip a couple of summers ago, no one seemed to notice that the boat didn't have a paddlewheel. If a paddlewheel was such a good means of propulsion, why aren't the used anymore? From my own experience riding riverboats in Europe, the Azipodes they use seemed pretty darned good; no vibration, good speed, extreme manuverbility, and with electric drive the engines can be placed anywhere in the hull and the same power that is generated for the propulsion can be used to operate the hotel plant.
              2. Why two boats? Seems to us that it would be a lot easier to fill one boat. Also anyone who has been around boats knows that if one breaks down so will the the same time.
              3. How big a boat? 50, 100, 150, 200, 300 or 400 passengers? There must a be point that is the most economical although I don't what the formula is. It would seem that the same engines that would move a boat that holds a 100 could also move a boat that holds 200.
              4. In your calculations one theing no one mentioned is insurance. Marine insurance is quite expensive. The rates depend on the number of passengers and crew. A 200 passenger boat could easily run $350 - $400,000 a year just to insure.
              That was just a few of our thoughts on the subject. We both feel that some day soon there will be a whole fleet of boats on the river. There has to be, the river is just too beautiful.
              Attached Files


                Paul and JLee, yes back in the day the Deckapes were overworked and underpaid. I decked on the MQ 77&78 and cleared about 90 bucks a week. Best time of my life. We were alloted 7days paid Vac. for every 30 days we worked and there was no Vac. schedule so you could bank your vac. time. I used to work 2 or 3 months before I would take a week. but back then life on the boats was good. We got free room and board, there were very few restrictions on the crew, heck we had beer machines in the crew mess for .35 a can. For alot of us in those days the DQ or the MQ was home. When I sat for mates license in Jan. 79 you had to have 2 years on deck to be eligible. The exam took 2 days of mostly essay questions. As a mate on the MQ you were paid 61.00 a day and on the DQ it was 56 a day and 15 days for every 30 you worked not the day for day it later became. But those were the days of masters certificates and the marine hospitals. But some people like "Wild Bill Frietas" enjoyed that profession and never wanted to go any higher than head deckhand. I had a lot of Real good people deck under me, some of which went on to become Mates, Masters, and Pilots. My time as a deckhand, head deckhand, and watchman was probably the best time of my life. I knew a lot of good entertainers between the MQ and DQ and thats what they did, entertain, played music, nothing more and nothing less.


                  Oh and what I left out was that as deckhands we were truely unappreciated and treated as such. But every day and sometimes nights we put on just as good a show landing those boats as any of the entertainers. we did it unrehearsed too. same thing in the locks, we put on a show there too. But we never got any recognition for it nor did we expect any for the cheers we got from the decks above was enough to make us proud of what we did.


                    Mel: Mebbe I'm a minority, but I admire and respect deckhands. For openers, they are a lot more fun to watch at a landing than the pilot on the wing bridge or the engineer with his oil can...not that these two are not important. But the ballet put on by some seasoned deckhands is a pure delight to me and I'm sure that it is to all the officers on board who know that a lot of the safety of the boat is also in their hands at locks and landings especially. Cap'n Walnut


                      I applaud you Skipper! When I was a young deckhand without a care in the world landing the boat was an art and the majority of the guys I worked with gave it their all when it came to landings. With 300 or so pax out there watching and the Cap'n hollerin orders and directions over the loudspeakers and the Mate working the bow and the capstan it was quite a performance. When I rode the DQ in August 97 with several other ex steamboaters it was a bit of a letdown as everything was done over portable radios and the Deck crew pretty much walked the lines up to the deadmen with little or no enthusiasm. Its kinda like what Judy was talking about the old down home feeling of steamboatin being gone. Yep decking sure wasnt for the money but it was definitely an adventure.


                        Mel: I would not mind at all being invited to the "deckhand's table" in the dining at 35 cents a can, you say!?? How 'bout that, Bruno?? Knock the bar-bill back a bit methinks! What did it cost up there in the Texas Lounge? I'd say, Mel, that the deckhands on the BELLE OF LOUISVILLE still put on a fine show! For the most part they do not hafta figure out a new or different landing every time but they have it honed down pretty fine for those of us who care to watch. This is something to add to the list of things we would do if...Cap'n Walnut


                          Tom , excellent idea !!

                          Tom ,
                          Excellant idea ! Wow , what a novel idea to run the company and the boat from the boat ! I like it but not sure how some VIP , CEO would cater to working and living with the " working class " !! Great idea though ! Keep them coming !!
                          Smooth Sailing !
                          Ted Davisson

                          Originally posted by Tom Schiffer View Post
                          How about puttin' the small office staff right on the boat? Like Alan sez, cycle them thru the boat staff. That way they will get to KNOW the problems of actually running the boat and in the case of crew...running the front office. It is interesting for me to note that I cannot detect one front-office person posting on this board. I din't say there were none, just that they keep a low profile if they are here! As a book author, I know that promotion is not important, it is EVERYTHING. When you consider that most prospective pax hardly ever even SEE a steamboat, you begin to see the magnitude of the job. If recent past operations are any indication there was a concerted effort to keep them off the boat. (anybody on this board besides me been denied entry?) I know, that shore folks get in the way of "turning the boat around", but, what better way than to expose them to satisfied folks who are just coming off a cruise? The crew won't like it, but I note they don't like not having a job either. Like sandbars, drift, high and low water and fog, prospective passengers must be dealt with somewhere, somehow...what more effective place than on the boat itself? What about having the Captain's Dinner (gasp!) uptown? Pre advertised that it is open to all (Dutch treat) and have the crew there in full uniform?? I might add that one of Betty Blake's very real assets (that I never see mentioned) was the fact that she was not at all hard to look at and was very visible EVERYWHERE. As far as paddle wheels are concerned, I like 'em, but I note that my two little steamers attract plenty of attention and neither one has a paddle wheel...but they ARE steam-powered and I'm not afraid to use the whistle! Visibility is one thing, but liking what they see is quite another! Now, this is just one guy's opinion. Cap'n Walnut.


                            Ted: Life on the boat by owners/front office people is certainly nothing new. However, I cannot imagine any crew that would welcome it! Just as the owners would learn about running a boat, so the crew would learn about real problems faced by the front office. It is not that you can't teach old dogs new tricks, it is more in the vein that we are comfortable with what we do and DON'T WANT TO learn new tricks! Cap'n Walnut


                              Tom , Point Well Taken !!

                              Tom ,
                              Point well taken and just imagine the mamoth overhead and expenses that could be saved by having the office on the boat ! Also , like you mentioned just imagine the learning experiences that could be shared by both the office and boat people as far as how to successfully and properly run a steamboat company !!
                              Smooth Sailing !

                              Originally posted by Tom Schiffer View Post
                              Ted: Life on the boat by owners/front office people is certainly nothing new. However, I cannot imagine any crew that would welcome it! Just as the owners would learn about running a boat, so the crew would learn about real problems faced by the front office. It is not that you can't teach old dogs new tricks, it is more in the vein that we are comfortable with what we do and DON'T WANT TO learn new tricks! Cap'n Walnut


                                Yep Tom 35 cents a can, Bud, Michelob, and Natural lite. Coke started that when they bought the company in 77. They had 2 Coke machines in the crew Mess and one up in the Promenade Deck Crew Lounge. And when I became a Mate I remember being criticized for eating in the crew mess with my guys rather than in the Officers Mess.