Leslie Seltzer, Director of Business Operations

Leslie has a degree in biology and a strong interest in education, a field in which she has extensive volunteer experience. In addition, she has been a successful entrepreneur. She joined the crew in 2017.





Capt. Tom Axx

Captain Tom has decades of experience in operating large powerboats on Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, Genesee River, St Lawrence River (including Thousand Islands), and the Erie Canal. Captain Tom is a long time active Charter Member of the Iroquois Sail and Power Squadron.  As part of the Power Squadron, he teaches Safe Boating, Seamanship, Navigation, Weather, and Marine Electronics.  Captain Tom is also a member of the Sodus Bay Maritime Captains Association. He is a favorite with children of all ages who ride the Sam Patch.

Capt. Bob Wood

Bob has been a captain on Sam Patch since 2007. An avid sailor, in 2012, along
with three other crew members, he crossed the Atlantic on a 37-foot sailboat to
cross that item off his bucket list. In addition to sailing Lake Ontario on his own
boat, he has delivered other boats through the Trent-Severn and Rideau canal
systems in Canada. What Bob enjoys most about driving Sam Patch is meeting
and talking with people from all over the country and the world who come to
experience the magnificent Erie Canal.

Capt. Bob White

Capt Bob White has been a CHN Captain for the last 9 seasons, piloting both the Sam Patch and Mary Jemison. He holds a 100 GT USCG Master’s License. On his “days off” he enjoys cruising with wife Linda and 4 footed baby Kirby on their sailboat Stargazer on Sodus Bay or visiting other ports along the shore of Lake Ontario. One of Bob’s favorite lines is “If it ain’t fun, I’m not doing it”.  Well, he’s still having fun and enjoys the opportunity to meet and talk with passengers from near and far about the history of the Erie Canal.

Capt. John Johnston

Captain John “JJ” Johnston is a USCG Licensed Captain, Certified US POWERBOATING Instructor, NATIONAL SAFE BOATING COUNCIL Marina Pro Certified Instructor and New York State Boating Safety instructor. In addition to serving as captain on Sam Patch, Capt. JJ teaches on the water powerboat courses in the greater Rochester / Finger Lakes region for boaters who want to improve their skills to be safe and have fun on the water. Capt. JJ has navigated the entire NYS canal system, many parts more than once!

Capt. Jim Van Valkenburgh

Jim is a longtime sailor, having cruised Lake Ontario on his sailboat REACH for many years. A motorsports enthusiast, Jim can also be found helping out in the pit for the racing team at the Little Speed Shop. He enjoys meeting people from all over the world and introducing them to the Erie Canal.


Capt. Kirk Stamp

Kirk is an avid competitive sailor and enjoys skiing in the off season. He is also a jazz and blues musician.  He has bareboat chartered in the USVI, BVI and Grenada.

Deckhands/Tour Guides

Wyatt Doremus

Wyatt is our senior deckhand and an extraordinary tour guide.  He is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University. He worked as a reporter, anchor, producer, and assignment editor at WROC-TV from 1977-87, a writer, producer and director at WXXI-TV from 1987-2007 – during which he wrote the nationally distributed Assignment: the World, a news program aimed at middle school students. Other credits include writing and producing Homework Hotline.  Both shows won numerous awards. He co-wrote and co-produced the nationally distributed, NYS Emmy award winning documentary, Flight to Freedom in addition to writing and producing more than a dozen local history documentaries including Invented Here, Great Homes, Remember When, Remember Too, You Must Remember This, Canal Towns, and 15 Miles on the Erie Canal.