Here’s a beautiful photo essay from Reuters about the life of a tugboat captain on the Ohio River, as well as about all the changes taking place in communities along the river itself. It’s about Joe Gray, the captain of the 126-foot-long tug Tommy H, who grew up along the Ohio River and started working as a towboat deckhand alongside his brothers in 1988, when times were good.
Gray is now 46 and works 28-day stints on the river between Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Cairo, Illinois. He earns $45 an hour, and often has to maneuver his tug and barges, which can run to more than 1,150-feet combined, into old, often-broken locks with only inches to spare on each side.
When Gray started, the barges largely carried coal, but coal shipments on the river have dropped 33 percent in the past decade, manufacturing plants have closed, local unemployment is up, and life along the river has changed dramatically.
If you’ve cruised along the Ohio lately, you’ve probably seen Gray or the Tommy H. If not, the Reuters story takes you on board, portraying his life and today’s hard times along the Ohio. Read more: