Storytelling for all its worth

Tilbage til up a lazy riverUp_a_lazy_river_dk.html

on tour


At the age of 13, he was allowed to control the family's huge riverboat for the first time. Loaded with hundreds of tons of goods.

It was on the river Meuse in France that Captain Anton de Bot had his debut steering the parents' huge riverbarge. His father was standing right behind him. Captain de Bots eyes shine at the memory of what all boys dream about, namely to be in control of a vehicle. Whether it's a boat, a car, a tractor, a horse-drawn carriage or an aeroplane is just as much. Nothing compares to this, childhood's first experience of self-governing.

Captain de Bot is the third generation within river goods transportation. Like the snail, this way of living demands for a life on board. When Anton de Bot was 13 years, he left for a boarding school. Then followed the navigation and seafare education, and he returned to the ship. Met his wife shortly after and got married. He took over the ship some years later. After 7 years, the couple sold the family ship and invested in a larger ship - 105 metres long, and a payload of 2000 tons. This payload corresponds to approx. 50 heavy trucks with as many drivers and fuel. In these environmental oriented times, this is a good argument for using the river for transportation.

"At the age of 50, I sold the ship. My two daughters and their husbands were not interested in taking over. I drew the consequence and sold the boat. For 10 years I worked as a freelancer with tasks partly on barges, partly as a tour captain. Since the past eight years of my retirement I have only been sailing as a tour captain.

"Retirement? 8 years? How? Apparently you are still sailing?”

"I have not actually had a day off since I stopped. This part of the tourism industry is booming these years and there is a strong need for skilled and experienced manpower to sail the many boats that are being built. My many years on Europe's rivers, and my knowledge of the boats has kept my phone warm all the years after my resignation. I'm happy, because river vessels are part of my dna. To sit inactive in a chair does not suit me, as long I'm fit for fight.

"Is there any particular reason why river tourism has become so popular?"

"My assessment is that vacationing on a river allows for a fun and comfortable vacation outside of major habits. This fits with the baby booming years, the people of which are now retired, and have the means for such a holiday. Similarly, there are segments from the United States, Canada and Australia, where we se a growing interest in visiting the places of their European origin. And a river cruise is very suitable for this."

"You are the responsible captain on board at this time. But the ship’s captain will be Achim Ratzka, close to take over the command of the River Discovery. How do you cooperate? "

"I have a kind of mentor’s role towards Achim. His theoretical qualifications are all in the top, but he lacks routine and experience in handling a ship of River Discovery's size. When you look at the very small tolerances that we must operate according to, experience is important through the many different locks we pass on such a trip. Similarly, also details in how to safely put the ship to a berth under various conditions, pays an important role. This is important to "have implemented in your fingertips". Further also our Captain Marcel is training captain onboard.

Discovery's length of 125 meters by 11,35 meters wide is the maximum for tourist vessels allowed by the EU legislation. Tankers can be up to 22 metres wide, but they can not go through the locks. These tankers act as bunkers (floating fuel stores, from which the barges get their fuel).

Discovery can sail on almost all rivers in Europe.

"Have you ever considered a shift from river traffic to sea navigation?"

"Never. I want land in sight all the time. "

Leif Andersen-Farmer

Captain Anton de Bot

Download this article in pdf.Anton_Bot_GB_files/Anton%20Bot%20GB.pdf