Joe's Job: Deck Hand


by Joe Flanagan, 13News Now

Posted on June 11, 2014 at 3:29 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 11 at 5:47 PM

Call it the ferry, the cab or the floating bus, HRT's Elizabeth River Ferry serves a need between Norfolk and Portsmouth.  And so do the deckhands who are in charge of manning the lines and counting the passengers.

Matthew Woodby loves his job and he can do it all. He has to know the rules of the water and has great aspirations.

"Now that I have been here a year, I can take a class and become a captain so I can get my captain's license," said Woodby.

Matt taught me how to secure the lines on the cleat when we pulled in to portside and greet the riders when they come on board.

Our captain was Brian Dutton.  He's been at this 10 years and loves his job because he gets to pull in and out of docks rather than just cruise along.  And he knows the value of his deckhands too.

"Most of them, once they've worked with certain captains over a period of time, they can almost tell what each individual captain is thinking.  They adjust accordingly."

We were in the 20 range for passengers on this day. 

Deckhand Rene Koloer was taking the money.  She is new to all this but wants to work her way up just like Matt.

"Three months. I love it.  I don't consider it a job.  It's just fun getting to know people.  Their life stories," said Koloer.

Not a bad job on the water.  Well, sometimes.

"The only time it's really difficult is when it's really cold and snowing  and like 33 degrees and it's pouring down raining and it's freezing cold," said Woodby.