From Connections Made

My Experience at New York Water Taxi

Image result for new york water taxiMy time with the New York Water Taxi over the summer is something I’ll never forget. It all started with one man, Port Captain Rob Haywood. He gave me such a welcome to the company and gave me a sense of security. He made it very clear to me that if I had any questions or  problems to report straight to him and only to him. He made me feel valued and for a person that knew barely anything about me, it was very shocking.

It started off with basic level training with a special guy named Tymel. Tymel, for the next two weeks, trained us on everything. From how to a do a boat checklist to making sure we know how to tie a simple clove hitch. For a guy that came off to very chill and laid back, it was clear why he was a senior deckhand and why he was the person training us.

On the last week, they finally took me off training and sent me underway with fellow deckhands of the company. This was a scary first step but it was then that I felt great about my job. I knew I was going to mess up but accepting my mistakes and learning from them was going to be a process no one could train for.

I’m a senior in high school and work on the Water Taxi during the weekend. This is something I love and I’m going to keep doing as long as I possibly can. I think it’s amazing to be in high school and have found a job I love and am willing to do for the rest of my life.

My Time Aboard Hornblowers Ship….the Serenity

Snapchat-958758141The Serenity was a ship that takes your breath away at first sight, but its the crew that gives you the complete welcome onto their boat. When we boarded, we graciously received welcoming remarks from all crew especially the captain. Captain Jose gave a very simple but effective overview of what its like when the vessel is underway. He broke down the benefits of not being apart of the Union and the things all Hornblower employees benefit from. By saying all the pros and cons you wanted nothing more but to work for them. This trip has done a lot for me. It inspired me to hopefully become a future deckhand for this company and to open eyes to companies beyond them.

Site Visit Hornblower Serenity

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Lucky enough, for our most recent class of vessel operations we took a site visit to pier 15. The class was invited to board, tour, and learn about one of Hornblower’s vessels named Serenity. We had the opportunity to meet Harbor School alumni, Captain Jose and first mate Medina. This gave us a chance to have class in a new location and have a different experience. Learning about other maritime workplaces allows us to make upgrades and edits to our vessels or shops in order to enhance our training with Harbor School. Students were allowed to tour the vessel and its two decks designated for passengers. However, we were not able to enter the engine room. Students were told where it is and who has clearance. At the wheel house, some students were lucky to steer the boat, ask questions to the Captain and overall have an enjoyable learning class period. Seeing maritime jobs in person, especially if the workers were once in our shoes like Captain Jose and Medina, is inspiring and important to us as we begin to make decisions about our careers.

At the Helm of Serenity


The Vessel Operations seniors had a great opportunity to take a ride on one of Hornblower’s yachts known as Serenity. Captain Jose and first mate Medina were there to greet us when we boarded the vessel at the South Street Seaport. We took a cruise around Lower Manhattan. The trip was about an hour long and I spent most of it exploring the boat. Jarely and I were sitting down talking about her summer experience when one of the crew members approached us and said Medina asked for one of us. I immediately stood up and walked to where she was at the helm. Turns out she was handing over the wheel to me! I had no idea what I was doing and with a boat filled with people, the pressure was on. Medina taught me how simple it actually was to steer such a large vessel. Your movements were small and controlled. I was at the helm for about 10 minutes and the whole time I was nervous. I’m used to our smaller vessels such as Indy and Virginia. You can see perfectly around those boats with your own eyes. Serenity is about three times the length of Indy. It was such a great experience to be at the helm of a vessel this size!

A Trip On Hornblower’s Serenity

  IMG_1642IMG_1644 (1)      On September 13th, the senior Vessel Operations class went on a site visit to Hornblower’s yacht Serenity. We went on a tour session that encompassed the Upper New York Bay. On that tour session, us students were allowed to explore the boat and it’s crew members, which we happily took advantage of. Overall it was a pleasant ride that I would love to do again, maybe on one of Hornblower’s other yachts.

Hornblower Trip

image       image                                                   image               A normal CTE day is walking to the mast center at the beginning of sixth period, meeting in the classroom and talking about what our agenda is. Today was a special day though. We met outside and immediately started walking to the ferry in a rush. As we were walking, Gino and I were having a conversation about what we could be doing today. We looked towards the seaport and saw Wavetree’s head sails up and realized where we were going today.

On our ferry ride Captain Aaron mustered us up and told us the plan. We realized we were completely wrong. The plan for today was a site visit, just not to Wavetree. We went to pier 15 and took a ride on one of Hornblowers boat. We all gathered our tickets and went straight up the stairs to the wheelhouse. There we met up with Captain Jose. He said hi to us and gave us a breakdown on what we were going to do today. It was a tour of lower Manhattan on the water. We all went our separate ways to explore the boat. As we went to explore we saw all of their safety equipment and compared how it differs from ours. Everything was pretty much the same just on a wider scale.

As we were on our way back Kim took the helm. At that moment I was scared for my life! Just playing, Kim did great at the helm. Following that Captain Jose took the helm and docked the boat and that was the end of our voyage. It was a great day!

Young Men At The Helm Clearwater

Young men at the helm on sloop clear waters was a great learning experience. The program started off with us breaking into watches. I was in none other than green watch. Our watches got to know each other and learn everyone’s name and where they are from. After we got to know each other a little bit better we learned our main task for the rest of trip. Our task was the main sail. We stay in charge of the one and two position. The one position is where you tie the stopper knot and the two position is when you make it off to the cleat. I usually did the one position.


At the end of the trip we had a sloop Olympics. The Sloop Olympics consist of being able to tie knots and answer questions at the same time. Another part of the Olympics was being able to bring the jib up as a team. The final challenge was line tossing and coiling. Each category was split into two different parts; style points and time. We started off with knots. I tied every knot first but it was also about your whole team FullSizeRender(1)getting the knot. We can help out by telling them what to do but not physically helping. After we all tied the knot we would all have to answer the question as a group. After that was raising the jib sail. We had the worst overall score when it came that. Finally we had the line tossing and coiling, my team had the most style points but had a bad time. However I had the best individual time when it came to the tossing and coiling. My time was 43 seconds. The time came when they said the winner. It was a three way tie. 

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.




Empire State

AugusIMG_9478t 11 2017 was the return of SUNY Maritime training ship Empire State. The Empire State went on its annual summer voyage with hundreds of students to receive training. August 11 was also one of the days I came for my internship at the college water front building. Terence and I walked inside the campus and were so surprised. There were so many parents ready to sunrise their child and give them a warm welcome back. Terence and I proceeded inside the water front building. Rob the waterfront director at SUNY maritime immediately offered us breakfast and told us what the plan for today was. On the agenda it was to refuel all the small boats and then go check out the sail boats and make sure they are still on the moorings and not floating away. In addition to that we were told that we would be catching the lines for Empire State.


After we finished our breakfast we did what rob told us to do. As we were coming back in from checking on the sailboats we got a radio call from Rob telling us to come back in immediately come in. Our initial Thoughts were asking each other if we did anything wrong. Webbing thought we did everything fine. We docked the boat and ran up stairs to Rob. Rob informed us that we will be each be taking our own boat with passengers on it to go check out Empire State. Rob told Terence to grab one of the Boston whalers and he told me to grab the red safety boat. We went down stairs and prepared to depart. Rob came down with the passengers who were all parents of students on the training ship. But something was wrong. Rob did not have his personal flotation device on. He told us that he wasn’t coming and this was all up to us. I dropped my lines, Rob gave us a kick off the dock and we were off. We did a quick circle around the ship, took some pictures for about 15 minutes, and we headed back in.


The next part of the day was the best part; catching the ships lines. In order to catch the ships line we needed to have the proper equipment. We needed helmets and gloves. We were told where all the lines would be placed. A couple minutes went by and the time has finally come. The captain on the radio told us our commands and we were ready. They sent us the stern line by throwing a monkey’s fist which we had to pull in to get the eye of the line on the cleat. “Stern line on” was what the guy said on the radio and our job was done.


After the ship tied up we greeted all of the students coming out. One of the students being a Harbor school alumni, Malachi. We gave him a quick round of applause, a handshake, and he left. That was such a great day at SUNYharbor grad Maritime.

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