A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Captain Don Sanders: Once it was ‘Throw it in the River,’ but times have changed for the better

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 KyForward “Throw it in the river…” That was a command I eagerly obeyed many times early in the course of sixty-some years on the river. “Throw...

Capt. Don Sanders: Sure it’s cold and might get colder, but have you been on a riverboat on ice?

By Captain Don Sanders Special to KyForward As a much younger man, I delighted in blustery winter weather like the Ohio Valley’s been enduring this week. The colder, the rawer, the nastier — the better. We had our share of wintry temps, ice, and blustery winds at Walt’s Boat Harbor, in West Covington, back in my high school days. One frigid afternoon, I stepped off the school bus in time...

Capt. Don Sanders: Nothing like ghost stories on cold dreary evening; here are river ghosts for you

By Capt. Don Sanders Special to KyForward There’s nothing else like a good ghost story on cold, dreary, wintry evenings. With that thought in mind, here are some I’ve heard told on such evenings. Several hours before boarding was scheduled to start after the noon hour, orders came directly from Cap’n Betty Blake’s office on Broadway Street, in downtown Cincinnati. One long-ago morning,...

The River: Reflecting on New Year’s days gone by on riverboats — and say a relieved goodbye to 2020

By Capt. Don Sanders Special to NKyTribune Thank goodness 2020 is three days behind us. The day before the turn of the calendar, I found myself reflecting on New Year’s days gone by. The steamboat cruising season began in Spring lay-up, and once started, lasted until nearly the end of the year– sometime around Thanksgiving. There were never any Christmas or New Year’s Eve celebrations aboard...

Old friends meet again to share a meal, music and memories; parting, they know there’ll be a next time

The riverboat captain is a storyteller, and Captain Don Sanders shares the stories of his long association with the river — from discovery to a way of love and life — every Sunday with the Northern Kentucky Tribune. By Capt. Don Sanders Special to KyForward The last time Charlie Rafferty and I were together was atop the bonnet on the smokestack of the DELTA QUEEN over 41 years ago. John...

The River: A lesson learned from grizzled Capt. Tate about the ‘Fool’s Knot,’ which any fool can tie

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 one of his stories. By Capt. Don Sanders Special to KyForward It happened on the bow of the DELTA QUEEN while splicing an eye into a busted line that the grizzled, cantankerous, old river pilot, Captain Howard Tate stopped,...

Remember when the Ohio River froze over . . . here’s a riverboat captain’s remembrance of that and more

By Capt. Don Sanders Special to KyForward Winter is officially here, and the frosty temps the Ohio River Valley has experienced since early autumn has river rats wondering if the Ohio is going to freeze before the lilacs bloom in April. The sudden and lingering chill so early in the season, evacuated the summer boaters from my paddlewheeler CLYDE.’s marina as surely as had the plague been discovered...

A ride across the river on Ms. Lucky Lady, the new Rabbit Hash Ferry — and what an adventure it was

By Capt. Don Sanders Special to KyForward Who’d a’ thought a round trip ride on the new Rising Sun – Rabbit Hash Ferry, built and operated by the Rising Star Casino and Resort, was in the cards this past Sunday, the last day of September? I was the last to imagine such an unexpected adventure. But then, my “river rat” buddy, Barb Anderson, innkeeper of the Anderson’s Riviera Inn, situated...