Back in 1996 when I was studying Master Mariner, I applied for a summer job at the Canal Tours in Copenhagen. It was a dream job, because it was far away from the books, exposed to sun and salty water all day and I got to sail around in the beautiful Port of Copenhagen. I thought it could be a bit boring – but it proved to be an amazing and memorable experience (and yes, the picture IS me).
First three days started with a thorough onboarding, security instructions and being trained in sailing the boats. The boats are larger than you may think, with seating for around 160 passengers. The canals in the Port of Copenhagen are narrow at some places and it was not as easy as expected to navigate around.
The boat captain who trained me told me that they often receive applications from captains from the merchant fleet that have sailed for numerous years – and they also had to learn a lot, because navigating these boats are quite different than navigating a large merchant ship.
But after a few days, I was ready to sail on my own. It was a great feeling. Most people love the trip around the port. There were a lot of smiling faces and happy people.
I had no place to stay in Copenhagen at that time – so my seablood guided me to buy a small boat and it became my home as it was where I slept, ate, and enjoyed the city after working hours. The boat was named Yakuza, but I must admit there was nothing gangster about it. It was just a crappy old boat. But I did not care, I slept great in the small bunk. I remember that when I woke up in the morning, I just started the small engine and sailed to work. My manager at Canal Tours hated my boat. He told me that I could not have this crappy old boat alongside the office, while I was working – but I argued back that there were crappy old cars parked too – and he did not complain about that, and after all it was a maritime company, so they should have nothing against that I arrived in a boat instead of a car. In the end, he agreed with a big smile.
So, I spent a couple of months on the water, sailing for Canal Tours during the day, and staying in my boat, visiting friends in the port outside working hours. I’ve probably never got so much fresh air and sun before in my life.
Despite the fact, that I was a professional sailor, sailing the seven seas for numerous years, I have never felt so close to the water as when I sailed these boats. I loved that I had to maneuver the boat all the time – in commercial vessel, you are lucky if you are allowed to manoeuvre the vessel a few hours – and I loved the contact to all the happy passengers.
Now, approximately 26 years later, I don´t sail anymore. I own a maritime recruitment company and I am trapped in front of the PC monitors most of the day.
Last week, we received an enquiry for assistance from the same company as back then, that in the meantime have been acquired by one of the largest sightseeing companies in Europe, Stromma. Due to the corona situation, they had to reduce the manning in 2020 and 2021, but the business is up and running now, and they need to employ 15 boat captains, both for the canal boats in Copenhagen – and for the boats at Lyngby Lake, north of Copenhagen.
We accepted the job and we are now proud to present probably the best summer job in Maritime. Do you want to know more about the job, click on the button and read more about the position. The position is in Danish, because due to security reasons, the captains need to speak a Scandinavian language.
Between me and you, part of me wants to leave the office, get behind the wheel, forget about emails, social media, bookkeeping, tax authorities etc. and just focus on one simple task, to give my passengers the best possible experience – while enjoying being at the water. I actually envy the people that get this job. But due to life’s circumstances you will probably find me in the boat as a passenger during the summer, because I take the trip at least once a year with my family – and I also invite international guests to join, as it is the best way to experience the city of Copenhagen.
MARPRO’s blog of the week is shared by courtesy of Jakob le Fevre, managing director at MARPRO. MARPRO is a maritime company specialist in maritime & shipping recruitment. Learn about MARPRO.