Crew Spotlight: Edward Tanner, Mate

Get to know Edward Tanner, Belle of Louisville’s Mate, in this edition of our Crew Spotlight series! Ed started at Belle of Louisville Riverboats just a few years ago, in 2020, and has already worked his way up from starting as a seasonal deckhand to his current position as a mate. He is also working on becoming a captain, in which he’ll be the first in his family to do! Continue reading to learn more about Ed’s unique role at Belle of Louisville Riverboats, and when you visit the boats, you may even see him arriving to work on his electric unicycle, which he rides to work on every day!

How long have you worked with Belle of Louisville Riverboats?

I started March 10th, 2020, as a seasonal deckhand. Then COVID happened, and I got put on watch (making rounds to make sure that the boat didn’t sink or no unauthorized people were on the boat), and after a year I was hired on as full-time deckhand and eventually worked my way to a mate on the Mary Miller and the Belle of Louisville (my current position).

What are some of the important responsibilities of your job?

Some important responsibilities of my job are making sure deckhands are trained on emergency drills and working mooring lines for the boats. I’m also in charge of checking all safety equipment on both boats. Another important responsibility is that when I’m a mate on the Mary Miller, I’ve been trained on all mechanics for the engine room and generators.

In your opinion, what is the best aspect of your job?

The best aspect of my job is learning different skills such as splicing eyes into mooring lines, doing repair work on boats, and painting.

What does a typical workday look for you?

A typical workday varies, but when there’s a cruise happening, I’m responsible for getting the deckhands started, getting the boats ready for cruises (cleaning, setting up the bow of the boat by undoubling the mooring lines, swinging the stage setting out stanchions) and while they are doing that, I go around and check all of the safety equipment (fire extinguishers, E-Lights, Ring buoys, Fire stations, Fire pump), followed by checking the fluids for the engines and generators on the Mary Miller and switching from shore power to generator power before a cruise.

When we’re not cruising, I’m usually helping out with maintenance on boats and doing drills with deckhands (Fire drill, Man overboard, abandoned ship, Emergency steering). Sometimes, we may not even know what the day has in store for us, for example just the other day we did tabletop drills on a boat that was in town dropping off passengers.

What is the most unique aspect of your job?

The most unique aspect of my job is working on a 108-year-old sternwheeler steamboat.

What is your favorite memory of working with Belle of Louisville Riverboats?

My favorite memory working on the Belle of Louisville is when we took the Belle to the shipyard in Gallipolis, Ohio, which took us 4 to 5 days to get there. We docked the boat every night we were there, which was nice because when we did, people would come down to see the boat and explain to us how they hadn’t seen the boat this far up since they were kids.

Why is Belle of Louisville Riverboats important to you?

The reason why Belle of Louisville Riverboats is important to me is because it’s not just a job, but it is a career that you can advance through, from just starting as a deckhand to one day working up to a captain. Also, I just enjoy the job that I do.

posts like this

Crew Spotlight: Stephen Settles, Assistant Engineer

For this month’s edition of our Crew Spotlight series, we are interviewing Belle of Louisville Riverboat’s Assistant Engineer, Stephen Settles! Stephen has worked for the Belle for seven years, starting as a Fireman and Striker. While every day on the job looks a little different, Stephen says the most unique aspect of his job is […]

Crew Spotlight: Julia Hammel-Furlong, Chief Purser

Meet Chief Purser, Julia Hammel-Furlong, who has worked here for 24 years! Starting as a deckhand, Julie worked grew her career on the vessel operations team and was offered the Chief Purser position in 2008.

Crew Spotlight: Captain Pete Oconnell, Alternate Master Captain

Captain Pete OConnell was just 19 years old when he started his job as a seasonal deckhand aboard the Belle of Louisville. Over the years, he continued to learn and grow in his role, rising to the role of Alternate Master Captain, a position in which he best enjoys piloting the vessel and telling great jokes (to the dismay of the crew). With so many years of history at Belle of Louisville Riverboats, Captain Pete OConnell is proud to say that he grew up aboard the Belle, even meeting his wife onboard. In this Crew Spotlight chapter, we interview Captain Pete OConnell to learn more about his unique role.