In 1975 at 17, a very wet behind the ears, Bob Deck left high school to learn the art of being a deckhand on the Mississippi River towboats with the goal of becoming a harbor pilot. The men who trained him were colorful and unique characters. “Steamboat” Bill Ruport a grizzled river rat at the ripe old age of 24 was one of Bob’s first mentors, learned him how to handle lines, lay riggin’ into tows and learn a whole different nautical vocabulary. Decking under the iron fist of Captain Crash provided danger and humor to a young man’s coming of age. If you have ever driven across a bridge over the river and wondered what life on those Mississippi riverboats is like, then this is one view that is enlightening and entertaining.