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

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  • mel hartsough
    replied
    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.

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  • mel hartsough
    replied
    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.

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  • Ted Davisson
    replied
    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 other...at 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

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  • Paul Penta
    replied
    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.

    Paul

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  • JLee Baer
    replied
    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.

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  • Lexie Palmore
    replied
    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.

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  • Jo Ann Schoen
    replied
    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!

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  • Jim Blum
    replied
    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!"

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  • Paul Penta
    replied
    Originally posted by JLee Baer View Post
    Paul,

    I worked on the QOTW it's first year and even when it was in the shipyard being built. Don't be fooled by what was probably a rare happening. .
    JLee, with all due respect, I was on the EON the entire 2004 season. That's what happened EVERY week.

    Paul
    Assistant Cruiise Director
    Empress of the North

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  • Shipyard Sam
    replied
    Believe It or Not...

    MY point was the possibility of a 300-foot paddlewheel riverboat becoming available, one day soon, that would make what I called a "grand" overnight vessel.

    The riverman I would love to see become involved with the DELTA QUEEN, or any other overnight passenger river outfit and run it like he does his towboats, is none other than Walter Blessey, Jr. He could put one h*ll of a successful outfit together... the very man that has been scorned for his anti-DQ stance.

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  • JLee Baer
    replied
    Don't forget the deckhands

    Originally posted by Paul Penta View Post
    I note with interest the several ideas about crew multi-tasking. Just for the record, that model was the American West way of doing things. Cabin attendants doubled as food servers, for instance. Everyone on and off loaded baggage. And I mean everyone, including the Master of the Vessel. the Cruise Director and Assistant Cruise Directors (we usually had two) and, of course the entertainers. It was also not unusual to see the oft maligned office staff carrying bags along with company officers. If Tom Carmen and David Simmons could schlep a suitcase, so could everyone else.

    Now, to be fair to MQ and AQ crews, the sheer number of pax and bags made that whole operation a well choreographed ballet involving folks who were a lot better at it than your average banjo player. But the EON and QOTW pax count was more akin to the DQ.

    Entertainment staff also doubled as tour escorts on the shore excursions.

    Paul
    Paul,

    I worked on the QOTW it's first year and even when it was in the shipyard being built. Don't be fooled by what was probably a rare happening. I know from experience from those days that when it was American West the steward and cabin attendants did NOT do any more than they had too. All the heavy lifting was done by the deck crew. I can not begin to desribe how they really got it stuck to them when the boat was in Portland. The deckhands would be slinging luggage and the stewards were usally up at the hotel bar! As far as the entertainer, they never did anything.

    The only thing that was even a little help were the bellmen from the Red Lion. However, even then deckhands got it again. Passengers would come down to the dock, with the bellman, and they tip the bellman but the not deckhand who then took it to their room. (Don't forget it usaully around $3.50 per bag for boat porters as well as hotels.)

    So remember the deckhands! They are the ones that get the nastiest, dirtiest, crappiest jobs on the boat! They are the most overlooked member of the crew by passengers. Oilers and wipers included.

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  • Bob Reynolds
    replied
    Amen, Alan, Amen! Capt. Edgar Allen (Little Wamp) Poe, Jr. was quoted when he worked for Olin Corp.: "Now, Olin doesn't care anything about barges or the river. This is strictly a cheap way to move something. If it was cheaper to move it by billy goat, why then they'd be in the billy goat business."

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  • Alan Bates
    replied
    My point, which may have been obscure, is that the owner(s) must not be a corporation based in Hong Kong, New York, Addis Ababa or London. The owner should stay with the boat the way the Greene's, Leathers, Cannon and Hendersons did, and many of today's
    towboat people continue to do.

    A big corporation in Berlin or Tokyo can decide to kill a going business because it doesn't make as much as they expected. The firm does not even have to lose money; a one-percent downturn on an earnings graph can do it. Corporations have no conscience, concern or care for their clientele, their executives or their employees. Their sole concern is that the profit-and-loss statement remain on the profit side. The destruction of a city, the bankruptcy of a factory, the loss of ten thousand homes is no more to a corporation than a broken shoelace. It is foolish to imagine that a corporation would care a picayune about a mere steamboat.

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  • Shipyard Sam
    replied
    Striped Cat

    Good luck in trying to find eight investors willing to pony up 2-mil apiece on an overnight river boat. But eventually if they could be found, and then if what I am hearing on the local TV news and around the water cooler, Indiana may be moving gambling operations ashore, and if that happens, a "grand" riverboat may be available for converting into an overnight boat. It is 300 feet long, diesel-electric, and quite possibly the best-handling boat ever built with a huge double-staggered paddlewheel and twin Z-drives and 500hp bow-thruster for added thrust and maneuverability. She has more than ample room for overnight conversion and is quicker than a striped cat and can easily do 12 mph on p'wheel propulsion; throw in some Z's, she will do an steady fifteen without bouncing the dishes off the table.

    None of the above will probably happen, except possibly the move ashore, and the grand boat is probably too tall, too expensive to run outside the trade she was built for, and may end her days mouldering away fleeted behind President's Island, but what an overnight boat this grand gal would make!

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  • Paul Penta
    replied
    Multi tasking

    I note with interest the several ideas about crew multi-tasking. Just for the record, that model was the American West way of doing things. Cabin attendants doubled as food servers, for instance. Everyone on and off loaded baggage. And I mean everyone, including the Master of the Vessel. the Cruise Director and Assistant Cruise Directors (we usually had two) and, of course the entertainers. It was also not unusual to see the oft maligned office staff carrying bags along with company officers. If Tom Carmen and David Simmons could schlep a suitcase, so could everyone else.

    Now, to be fair to MQ and AQ crews, the sheer number of pax and bags made that whole operation a well choreographed ballet involving folks who were a lot better at it than your average banjo player. But the EON and QOTW pax count was more akin to the DQ.

    Entertainment staff also doubled as tour escorts on the shore excursions.

    Paul

    Leave a comment:

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