You’ve got to be cool, calm and collected to be a good skipper says Tom Goodwin.
Goodwin, 25, already has 10 years in maritime, having started as a “deckie” with his employer, Navigators, at age 15 and worked his way up to a Master 5 ticket to captain a 25m vessel by age 20.
He now has a Certificate IV in Transport and Distribution (Coastal Maritime Operations), a national qualification developed by the Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council (TLISC) and is driving a $6 million boat as a certified Master 4.
Training to become a Master 4 “prepares you to be safe”, Goodwin says. His training covered navigation and collision regulations, helm technologies, vessel stability, sailing simulations, and “every aspect of the maritime industry”.
Six days a week the 34m Navigators ferry cruises to Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), a cool jewel in Tasmania’s tourism crown, via the Derwent.
The ferry is unlike many, if any, others: an extension of MONA’s “experience”, it is kitted out to match the museum’s world-class standards, complete with chef and barista bars, VIP lounge, vibrant art, and a chirpy Brazilian Jenday parrot called Trevor.
Having a job like this on your doorstep is one in a million.
But Goodwin must sit above the hubbub in the wheelhouse where, as master and engineer, he has dual responsibilities for the vessel’s daily operations, safety and crew as well as monitoring the unmanned engine rooms and numerous gauges.
Then there is the considerable task of manoeuvring the vessel up to 25 knots on the narrow river, watching out for other craft, from kayaks to cruising yachts.
Goodwin grew up on the Tasman Peninsula in a town of about 1000 people, not far from Port Arthur where he began his maritime career with Navigators. “And initially I didn’t think I’d go much further, but I did. I made the step up,” he says.
He’s already had experience skippering the waters off Australia’s north-west shelf and wants to “get down to Antarctica at some stage, just to experience that”. But for now he is stoked to have the chance to work his dream job, yet be at home among family and friends, and to play AFL in a team he started with friends on the peninsula, even if it means turning up sore and sorry on Monday.
“I am pretty lucky to be skipper on board here,” Goodwin says. “Having a job like this on your doorstep is one in a million and I’m lucky enough to be at the helm.”
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