Deckhand’s Day

Jessica is a deckhand on a boat taking passengers over to Cockatoo Island. We chat to her and find out just what's involved in being a deckhand - what needs to be learnt and what to keep in mind when working with boats.

About Jessica:

Jessica McNaire has achieved a lot for a 20 year old. She is a qualified Coxswain and international deckhand. The Rosman boats are easily recognised because of their distinctive colour scheme of red and yellow sparkling paint and rich varnished timber work.

The ships are constructed from timber, which gives a sense of traditional charm, unattainable with today's modern construction materials.

She left school in year 10 after having an inspirational work experience gig aboard a boat on Sydney Harbour. Jessica decided to leave school to drive boats but found that she needed to be 18 years old and have two years experience as a deckhand before captaining a vessel.

Before anyone can work on a commercial boat they need to complete a two-week 'Pre-Sea' or 'General Purpose Hand' certificate at TAFE, then you can do a 'Deckhand' Certificate and then a 'Coxswains' Certificate.

Jessica has also complete an engineering model called a 'Med3' which gives you basic engine information which helps to trouble shoot engine troubles on the water. Jessica was desperate to travel overseas and work on ships so she attained an International deckhand certificate up in Cairns, which is approved by the 'AMSA' (Australian Maritime Safety Authority) the international department for the Maritime Services Board.

Jessica has just returned from Dubai where she was working aboard a 'white boat', the name given to big luxury private charters. She has also worked in the USA summer camps teaching kids how to wake board and water ski.

Jessica is qualified to drive boats under 12 metres and has also worked as a yellow water taxi driver on Sydney Harbour. She loves working in the outdoors as a deckhand for Rosman Ferries.

A typical day includes jumping on board, cleaning the boat ready for passengers, heading over to MCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) - 'Commissioner's Steps', tying the boat to the wharf, lowering the gang plank and helping passengers on board.

She learnt the skill of tying a boat to wharf over a month of continuous practise of throwing the rope eye over the bollard and tying a figure of eight over and over to lock off the boat securely.

VJ Rodney Meier