A love affair with the canals


It’s early in the morning, Anders is strolling by the company’s quay with a steaming hot coffee in his hand. He is glancing at the freshly painted boats lined up in wait to be set off into the picturesque harbour of Copenhagen.

Today Anders is sailing the “Little Mermaid”. His favourite boat. The distinguished Stromma boats are all named after world-known fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen. He gets on the boat, enters the cockpit, places his personal items on the passenger seat and takes a standard control tour around the boat. This routine consists of checking the engine and the oil, and simply making sure the boat corresponds to the guests’ expectations.

One of the things that make this part of the day his favourite is the calm. It’s very quiet in the morning, it’s just him, the sound of the salty waves gently rocking the boat and the repeated calls from the seagulls. He feels the warmth of the sun and takes off his distinctive red cap.

One of the things that make this part of the day his favourite is the calm.

Back in the cockpit, Anders checks the day’s schedule one final time. The schedule shows an overview of all boats, all tours, all captains, and guides operating today. It’s going to be a busy day consisting of Grand Tours, the best way to experience Copenhagen if you ask him. One hour by boat with charming canals, lively waterfront, and brilliant storytelling.

Anders is meeting his guide in Nyhavn, undoubtedly along with a queue of early-bird tourists ready to experience Copenhagen from its best side. After all it’s the beginning of summer season.

The beginning of the season does not only mean first time visitors to the city and long queues at the quays, but also new names in the schedule. He can see a new guide and a new captain in today’s planning. He makes a mental note to remember to give them a warm welcome. It’s always overwhelming in the beginning with all the new information combined with the urge of doing a good job. He remembers being incredibly nervous on his first shift 5 seasons ago. He had a good mentor though.

Claus was his name. He was tough, but fair. He knew how to motivate the fresh-man captains. He smiles when he remembers what he used to tell him when it was tricky to perform precise manoeuvres through the canals: “Treat your boat like you would treat a woman. Gently, calmly and with a lot of affection. Otherwise, she’ll give you a lot of resistance. Just like your boat”

“Treat your boat like you would treat a woman. Gently, calmly and with a lot of affection. Otherwise, she’ll give you a lot of resistance.”

Now the roles have changed. Claus is retired now, but he stills pays a visit from time to time with his wife. But now it is as passengers taking a tour. He knew how to treat his boats, but certainly also his woman. They always remind him of high-school sweethearts.

Thanks to Claus he developed his skills gradually. He must have done something right on his first season, as he got more new challenging tasks and more responsibilities over time. Anders has now become one of the oldies himself and he is responsible to train some of the fresh-man captains through the busy port of Copenhagen and the tricky canals of the old part of the city.

He takes a deep breath, flips the ignition switch, and starts the engine. He backs up the boat out of the quay, sets course towards the city centre and listens to the Wellerman song at full throttle. He gets a good feeling. It’s going to be a good day.

4 quick questions to a Stromma Boat Captain

1/4 How did you end up as a boat Captain for Stromma?

Stromma Boat CaptainI simply pursued my passion. I have been sailing since I was a child, and if I had to try something new in my life, now was the time. I have been working in the financial world my entire career, but I wanted to get rid of my administrative and bureaucratic work day. I imagined that all the people who are on holiday and sailed on the Canal Tours were positive and happy. I wanted to be part of that. I wouldn’t say it was a call, but I knew I would regret it if I didn’t take the chance.

2/4 What is the best part of your day working at Stromma?

Stromma Boat CaptainThe whole atmosphere of life in the harbour of Nyhavn on a summer day – and I’m the centre of it all. I especially love the days when everything just fits together. Seeing the people leave the boat happier than when they got on, is just an amazing feeling.

3/4 What is the best memory you have so far from your time working for Stromma?

Stromma Boat CaptainLet me think. It was a Saturday afternoon in August. The sun was shining, and the boat was packed. The harbour was buzzing with life and my first thought was: “It’s going to be a fantastic day on the water!” As we sail through the Christianhavn’s Canal, we arrive at a bridge where a newlywed couple had their photos taken. I took the change and honked the horn 3 times. Fortunately, they took it very well. The groom lifted the bride up and kissed her. The whole boat clapped and cheered for them.

4/4 What advice would you give some who wants to sail as a boat Captain?

Stromma Boat CaptainYou need to be passionate about giving a good experience to many people. Although it’s fun, it can be tough, as you always need to be mentally present, both in giving a good experience to people and in terms of security.

Although it may seem scary to sail such a boat, it must not scare a new Boat Captain. It’s not as difficult as it seems.


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    Article shared by courtesy of Narjiss Ghajour, Event & Marketing Manager at MARPRO, a recruitment company for the maritime industry for onshore personnel. Read more about MARPRO.

    See more relevant articles about Stromma here.

    See all current jobs at Stromma here.

    Narjiss Ghajour

    Editor-in-Chief of Maritime Professionals
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