By Bri Rodriguez

Pete Wilcox and His Adventures

When the Vessel Ops class took a trip to Greenpeace, which is one of 3 vessels in an environmental activist fleet, one name stood out to me most. Pete Wilcox ,captain on the activist vessels, he’s been through a lot while trying to save the Earth from people and companies trying to harm it. He was on board when the boat, Rainbow Warrior, was blown up by French military members in New Zealand in 1985. Pete was also on the Arctic Sunrise  when it was taken over by the Russian military in 2013, and he spent two months in Russian jail.

Mr. Wilcox supported many campaigns :

  • 1981- Offshore oil drilling on Georges bank
  • 1993 – Exposed Russian dumping of nuclear waste in the Sea of Japan
  • 2007- Research trip to Greenland to document global warming

In April of 2016 , he released his book  Greenpeace : My Adventures In Protecting The Of Our Planet.



2017-10-16 14.06.13                                             greenpeacecaptain

Water Plant on the Mein Schiff

Today was a new open door for me , we visited Mein Schiff 6 which is one many Royal Caribbean cruise ships. The ship was docked in Bayonne , NJ. With connections to the captain, the senior vessel operations class got to take a tour of behind the scenes parts of the ship. One of which included the water plant system that filters sea water through a membrane to separate pure water from salt and  minerals. The water is passed through a mineralization plant, which adds needed minerals. This is important because the healthy minerals naturally found in drinking water have been taken away by desalination. At this stage, the water is also checked for impurities, sanitized, and the pH is corrected. The water is then sent to massive storage tanks on board the cruise ship and kept there until its role needs to be fulfilled.


meeting captain todd
Captain Tod and I inside the bridge of the ship.

harbor school flag and cruise ship

cruise water plant   The link to the left shows the system aboard the cruise ship.







Opening Up the Bow

This is  a short video of me supervising the bow of the one of Water Taxi’s boats while it is open for tourist so they can take pictures of and with the Statue of Liberty. Before you open up the doors for the bow you have to go out and make sure everything is stowed away properly and there would be no harm to the people. When that is checked you, take a look at the captain and give him a thumbs up and if he gives you a thumbs up as well then you are good to let the people out. While you are out there you have to keep an eye out for people standing on the railings and/or standing on the bits , if so ask them to get down and assure them that it is not safe to do that. While checking for safety hazards, you can help the passengers with pictures and any questions they might have until it is time to head back in. Once everybody is back inside, then take another look at the captain and signal that it is all clear for him to pick up the speed with another thumbs up.




Engine Room Check



This right here ladies and gentlemen is me (Bri) doing a typical hourly deckhand engine check at New York Water Taxi. Yes, every single hour one of the two deckhands have to go down to the engine room and make sure there are no signs of anything wrong. So after you come down the ladder with gloves on your hands and ear protection on (the picture to the right was a pre-underway engine room check therefore the engine wasn’t running) you take a look around. Do you see anything wrong? Do you smell anything out of the ordinary? Do you hear something weird? After you do that and everything is secured , make sure all the valves are all the right way especially for the manifold system and fire pump set up. If you see something that is alarming and could cause harm then let the captain know right away, if everything is well then still let the captain know the condition and log that into the book.




IMG_2204           engine check




The Stepping Stone

Where do I start?

Freshman year: I started waterfront , that was the best choice I have ever made in my life so far. We worked on the boats at that time but other times we went on class trips; one trip was to Red hook, Brooklyn. That is where Water Taxi’s Homeport is; that day we were given a chance to go on their small and large boats as well as the Shark boat.

Sophomore year: A select few got a chance to go on one of the Water Taxi boats to talk to the captain, Juana Garcia. That alone was a big opportunity considering she is the first female captain at Water Taxi so I had many questions. After everybody left I was still their talking to Juana and the deckhands, I started to question what I wanted to do in future.

Junior year: As a intern at waterfront, my connections branched out in a lot of different directions. I found myself being involved with Water Taxi more often. The fact that I knew a lot of people that worked there helped tremendously. I knew then that Water Taxi was the perfect place for a stepping stone into the Maritime Industry.

Senior year: Looking back at it now , its mind boggling that I came this far. The summer of  becoming a senior, I started actually working for Water Taxi. The vibe there is so family like . They make me feel included with everything and now that I’m checked off, I get to put my own mark on Water Taxi, and hopefully help inspire a young teenager just like I was .



Freshman Year

( picture to the right ) first time at taxi


Senior Year

(pictures below)

IMG_2884                       IMG_2877

Fishers Island (Oyster Farm Boats)

IMG_0129This picture above shows me on the bigger aluminum boat ; 35 feet with an outboard engine, that was towing the smaller green boat ; 20 feet with an outboard engine, that go stuck by the oyster farm with Jeremy (Aquaculture teacher)  and some of his students.


The picture above shows me steering the smaller green boat going back to the Malinowski dock from the Fishers Island’s oyster farm.


This picture shows Max, Pete’s son, on the left and Theo, Aaron’s son, on the right (and me) on the 20 foot fiber glass boat while we were tied up to fuel. Theo and Max were practicing their line throwing skills. For their age, I’d say they were pretty good at it.

T/V Captain Susan Clark


A picture can tell a thousand words

looking off into the distance to a picture perfect island

the waves crashing , the scenery like no one can imagine

New York City is a lot different than Maine

Tall buildings compared to a lot of water and open land, it’s just not the same

on the T/V Captain Susan Clark we learned how to navigate through these waters

upper class men and lower class men it didn’t matter

altogether we got to each point plotted around the estimated time

Practices for the industry and the classes in Maine Maritime

we were a unit, we worked as one operating this machine

Even the docking was sharp and clean


Tying a Monkey’s Fist

When Aaron told us it was time to learn how to tie a monkey’s fist I was in shock. Don’t get me wrong I have seen the knot before but it just looked so impossible to do. I watched him go through it once along with the class but I was still confused with no clue of what to do. I asked my peers for help but they were also struggling to learn it themselves—so I turned to the internet. I sat in a chair for what felt like 10 hours watching videos on YouTube on how to tie a monkey’s fist. It took me more than about 7 tries to get the ball in the middle, hold it together and take out any slack. At the end I had to get myself together and use an incredible amount of patience to tie it correctly.


monkeys fist

This is my completed monkey’s fist. This knot is to be tied at the end of a rope to serve as a weight, making it easier to throw a far distance.

The picture above is my vessel ops class learning how to tie a monkey’s fist.

Site Visit Aboard The Zephyr

IMG_1479We recently went on a site visit aboard the Zephyr at Pier 16 (South Street Seaport). The class talked to former Harbor student and crew member Justin Trinidad, who graduated last year. He talked to us about how he became crew with the connections he had from the school.

We then continued our tour around the Zephyr, looking in the wheel house with Captain Alvin Masongsong. He operates the boat with a simple throttle but, if the main system fails, there’s a complicated back up system. On the way back we analyzed the Zephyr’s docking. The captain aligned the boat with the pier, letting the current push it in along with some assistance from the engine. All in all, the site visit was one of many to come and I’m looking forward to learning about more boats and other jobs in maritime industry.



We work together
birds of a feather
on the water and land
together we understand
the meaning of teamwork
I look around to see us all with a smirk
we come as one but all different minds
we are a family, one of a kind.