The way he sees it, his job is to bring a bunch of great commuters to work in Seattle in the morning and take them home to Vashon in the evening.

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What do you do? I work as a deckhand on the Vashon Island to downtown Seattle route of the King County Watertaxi. I collect fares, handle lines and stand bridge watches. The way I see it, my job is to bring a bunch of great commuters to work in the morning and take them home in the evening.

How did you get that job? I worked on an auto ferry in New York in 1998. To gain experience, I joined the Coast Guard, after which I worked on a cruise ship in Alaska. I wanted to spend more time with my wife at home in Seattle, so when I heard there was an opening on a local ferry, I was first in line.

What’s a typical day like? I’m up at 3:45 a.m. I arrive at Pier 50 by motorcycle and begin preparing the vessel for a 5:30 a.m. departure. I make three round trips from downtown Seattle to Vashon Island before taking my six-hour “lunch break.” I return to work in the afternoon and make three more round trips before my workday ends at 7:30 p.m.

What’s the best part of the job? The Water Taxi has become an extension of the Vashon Island community. Most of the commuters know my name, and I know theirs. I have even spent time with many of them on my off time. It’s because of these relationships that my job doesn’t feel like work, but rather like I’m giving some friends a lift home.

What’s the best thing that’s ever happened on the job?
A commuter who used to ride with her 3-year-old stopped riding because she was having a second child. After about a year, she visited to bring us a card, which updated us on her family, thanking us for our role in their lives and telling us how her daughter misses (the) “little boat.”

What surprises people about your job? Crew members of the water taxi all have prior experience on various vessels, serving a wide range of marine operations. Many crew members possess U.S. Coast Guard credentials, allowing us to perform engine room duties and fill in for captains when needed. Our versatility is valuable considering our boats are staffed with a mere three people!