How did you decide to become a dock master?
"Since I can remember myself, I have been growing on and around boats. My family owns a boat and we have been travelling on that since I was young. I now have my own barge and I use it as my permanent residence. Because of my love for boating, when I started looking for jobs, it came naturally to me, it had to be something relevant to boats. That's how I started working in the industry at marinas on the South Coast, until I joined the St. Katharine's team."
How long have you been working at St. Katharine Docks?
"I can't believe how time flies at the Docks; it will be two full calendar year soon."
What are the skills required for someone to become a Dock Master?
"To become a Dock Master, all you need, is to be awesome! Of course, having maritime knowledge and delivering excellent customer service is preferable, but being awesome is a requirement. By all honesty, you need to have a love for boats and the outdoors and be eager to learn. As long as you are responsible and able to prioritise tasks, you can be an excellent Dock Master."
Could you describe your daily work routine?
"My job is much affected by seasonality, but there is a number of activities that are part of our daily routine, such as our everyday morning dock patrols. We need to give our best to maintain the marina, keeping the Docks clean and safe, while being alert for any health and safety hazards. This includes the maintenance of the brand-new installed sea bins, the workboats, the pontoons and the whole site in general. When vessels arrive to berth at the marina, we are responsible for operating the locks and the bridges, as well as for any boat movements required within the water space, a task which is especially challenging during the events. We also support the rest of the team in delivering outstanding customer service and performing everyday transactions to assist berth holders."
What are the daily challenges for a Dock Master?
"Dock Masters need to be alert and react to the ever-changing environment that we work in; anything from oil spills, which I consider the biggest challenge, to electric issues and failures, as well as trying not to fall into the marina."
What is the funniest experience you had while working at the Docks?
"That is the hardest question so far, I can't choose. It's always a fun day at St. Katharine's. I'll definitely never forget the time when Ron, Angelo [the other Dock Masters] and I, had to rescue a flag from our flagpole with a makeshift 12m stick made from bamboo, gaffer tape and a coat hook. We probably stayed there for a couple of hours and finally the police came - to rescue us, not the flag."
What is your favourite event hosted at St. Katharine Docks and why?
"It's the Classic Boat Festival. From a personal perspective, it's because of my passion about maritime history and the variety of the designs on the old crafts. But as a Dock Master, the set-up for the event is also interesting as you are always busy to accommodate the vessels with extra care and respect. It is always enjoyable to step onboard those historic vessels, as the Little Dunkirk Ships and Lady Daphne."
What part of your job do you enjoy the most?
"It's always a pleasure to see loyal customers coming back to visit the Docks and I really enjoy the personal relationships we build with them over the years. At the same time, it is very exciting to welcome new visitors and try to help them make the most out of their stay at central London's only marina. People are delighted to be in such close distance to London's major attractions, as the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. It is a perfect location to visit."
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