Manchester by the Sea, Massachusetts
The modern harbormaster does much more than ride around in a boat. While boat handling skills are necessary, so are computer and business skills.
$60,000 - $80,000
What is your current job and what does it entail?
I am the harbormaster for the town of Manchester by the Sea, Massachusetts. My duties include, but are not limited to, managing the boater database for moorings, slips and waitlist totaling around 1400 people. The Harbor Department collects approximately $200,000 annually in fees and manages a budget of over $100,000 annually. I teach safe boating courses, provide information and assistance to boaters on the water, maintain waterfront infrastructure, and coordinate permitting and planning with state and federal agencies for large scale projects such as dredging. As harbormaster I work with the United States Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection, state law enforcement and other harbormasters in the region to ensure all boating laws are observed, and receive ongoing training to maintain the highest level of readiness for any water related incident that may arise. The harbormaster also serves as the ambassador for the community waterfront.
What was the key factor in your career decision?
A desire to work in the marine industry, truly a changing and challenging work environment.
What do like most about your career?
I get to work on the ocean every day.
What do you like least about your career?
The summer hours are long and weekends are for work and not for the family.
What do you do to relax?
I go sailing, garden and cook.
Who are your heroes/heroines?
All hard working people who do their jobs with diligence, honesty and transparency. Good ethics are one of the most important personality traits of a harbormaster.
What advice would you give a student who expressed an interest in pursuing a career in your field?
Get an education. The modern harbormaster does much more than ride around in a boat. While boat handling skills are necessary, so are computer and business skills. For early development consider working at a boat yard or marina--you will learn about boats and develop some contacts that will serve you well in the future. Go boating--a captains license will be a requisite for a job as harbormaster and you need time on the water to get a captains license. Other things to consider: law enforcement training and first aid skills, both of which will probably be required for your position as harbormaster.
Are career opportunities in your field increasing or decreasing and why?
Neither. The number of harbors in the United States stays the same. Opportunities will come for those who can envision the changing landscape of boating in the middle part of the 21st century.
What will you be doing 10 years from today?
I hope to be serving as a harbormaster in a harbor somewhere in New England.