Capt. Dan Touch with his son Coleman.
Captain Profiles

Capt. Dan Yauch, C&B Marine

Described as “a true asset to the company” by vessel manager Ed Eichhorn of C&B Marine, Covington, Ky., is one of C&B Marine’s lead captains, Capt. Dan Yauch. “His experience and devotion play a key role in the company’s commitment to safety and customer satisfaction,” Eichhorn said. C&B Marine is a division of Carlisle & Bray Enterprises.

“I first worked with Dan Yauch back in the early ’90s, when he was riding captain for Carlisle on the mv. Ann Miller, running sand and gravel barges from the Hilltop dock in Patriot, Ind., to Cincinnati. Dan is currently running a C&B boat at that Hilltop dock in Patriot, where they are still loading sand and gravel barges. Dan has worked at numerous other docks that C&B services and occasionally goes on runs when his expertise is needed, recently making a run up the Tennessee and Little Tennessee rivers,” Eichhorn said.

To fully appreciate Yauch, one must know that he and his wife have six children of their own plus two foster children, ranging in age from 7 to 27. Their oldest child, Coleman, pilots for C&B, and there are still other “part-time” foster children, who are only in high school but are looking forward to working on the river alongside their dad and big brother.

“C&B has been very supportive,” Yauch said. When an extended trip would have meant being away from the family for a long time, Yauch gratefully declined, and the company totally understood his decision. “They have been great to me,” he said.

Yauch learned his craft in high school. He is not from a family of towboaters; in fact, “the first time I even saw the river was through a peephole in the bleachers at a Reds game,” he said. He learned about towboats and barges during his junior and senior years from the vocational studies that were offered then by the Cincinnati Public School System. “I did my regular courses in the morning—English, math, science and so on—and went out on the river during the afternoon for some hands-on experience,” he said.

As part of the training, students honed their skills aboard the school’s 400 hp. mv. Marylin K. MacFarland. “There were 17 kids in my class starting out,” he said. “Now, I’m the only one (to have made a career out of it).”

His first job was as a deckhand with McGinnis Inc. He worked in and around the Cincinnati harbor from 1982-1985. Then, after he got his pilot’s license, which was when he was 21, he hired on with Carlisle for 12 years, following which he worked for Aquarius Marine Construction for another 12 years, then returned to Carlisle. All total, he’s been with C&B for 25 years. He’s been on the river 44 years.

Usually, Yauch pilots the mv. Beverly-Wayne, a 57-foot, 800 hp. harbor boat, but his normal location at Patriot is shut down until early March. In the meantime, he is working on the mv J.L. Braden, spotting coal barges at the Ghent power plant. His deckhands at Ghent are David Reffitt and Roger Longfellow.

He has traveled and worked on most of the inland waterways, he said, adding that the Tennessee River is his favorite when it comes to beautiful scenery. One of the most memorable trips was while he was on the Aquarius, he recalled, working on the Muskegon River. “We were putting in a new water intake system, and it was as if we were working back in the 1830s, when the locks were first built. Back in those days the locks had to be opened by hand, which is how they are still operated today.”

Although 60 years old, Capt. Yauch is not planning to retire any time soon. He loves his work, stays in shape, takes no medications and is looking forward to working until he’s 70. “All these kids keep me going,” he said.

When he’s not on the river, he is never far from it, he said, by virtue of his large collection of river paintings, including one by John Stobart. He has photos hanging everywhere in his house, more than 100 books and no end of other river paraphernalia, which literally cover every wall, he said.  Most of his collection of steamboat wall hangings consists of Michael Blazer original prints, he said, adding, “I am a big fan of his work because his paintings reflect the Tri-State area, where I have lived and worked my entire life.”