Saturday, October 18, 2003

It's no easy ride for busy boat staff

As Tall Stacks visitors leisurely watch the riverboats dock, the staff inside is frantically readying the craft for yet another journey.

Thursday, Spirit of Jefferson workers buzzed about in between an early evening martini cruise and a dinner cruise.

In just an hour, they had to herd the guests off the boat, remove the trash, replenish the food from a caterer, fill the water tanks, pump off the sewage and keep constant watch on surrounding traffic. And, oh yeah - they had a shift change, too.

"I'm lucky if I get to drink a cup of coffee and smoke a cigarette before it's time to go again," said bartender James Bamforth, 23.

"I try to sleep when I can," said April Clark, 26, a bartender. But that's when she's not cleaning, stocking the bar and cutting fruit.

Within minutes of docking, the Louisville-based sternwheeler sparkles - from the navy curtains to the crisp white tablecloths.

"The best part is that when the night's over, we can just break out the garden hose and spray everything out," said Captain Kevin Kelly, 35.

Maggie Downs

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It's no easy ride for busy boat staff

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