Riverboat captain gives up life in The Big City for smooth sailing


(WTNH) — Paul Costello spent his childhood watching the trains go by along the Connecticut River. It wasn’t until he got to know the crew members that he realized an interest in boats. At 16, after years of hanging around, the crew hired him as a deckhand on the boat, where he worked all throughout high school and college.

After college, Costello starting working as a train conductor before getting a “real job” in the “real world” as a graphic designer, where he worked for 18 years. He finally got fed up with the New York rat race, quit his job, and got his captain’s license.

“You know, there’s a lot of different things to do over the course of the week. I could do three jobs,” said Costello. “Like this week, I’m on the boat today, doing graphic design tomorrow and running the train on Sunday.”

Costello told a story of when he was working as a conductor on the dinner train and met a couple celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. They told him they got married on a riverboat underneath Gillette’s Castle. It happened to be one of the boats Costello worked on 25 years ago.

“If they looked back on their wedding album, they’d probably see me as a deckhand,” said Costello.

Costello, whose father was a high school teacher, said he may have missing his calling as a teacher, but he enjoys being able to hire new people and teach them about the boat and what they do.

Growing up on it, Costello says he has a lot of fond memories of the river and now, at 45-years-old with a wife and kids, working back on the riverboat gives him a sense of calm.

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