A Day In The Life Of...

Associated British Ports (ABP) is the UK’s leading ports operator with 21 ports and boasts the UK’s leading export port for agricultural products at Ipswich.  In the latest of our regular features our editor spends a DAY in the LIFE of ABP’s Harbour Master – Cpt. Jerry Coleman.

56 year old Captain Coleman is a font of knowledge; from the legal clearance height under the Orwell Bridge (43.07 metres if you’re asking), to knowing every single acronym in the maritime world (HHA, MCA, MMO, UKD, PPE, ONS….the list seemed endless).  Our time together was eye-opening; as the father of two enthused about his role at the heart of ABP’s port operations and his life ‘on the water’.  From Deck Cadet in the Merchant Navy through 10 years of study & sea-time to attain his Masters Certificate, Jerry graduated in 1988 and took his first command in 1991 on car carriers on the North Sea.  Finishing his sea career with P&O in Felixstowe, Jerry initially joined ABP in January 2007 as Deputy Harbour Master, earning promotion to his existing role in 2009.

“The job has changed dramatically in my ten years” explained Jerry “It’s very fast paced these days, with continuous improvements being made, which I have to train in to my team of ten staff plus ten boatman”.  Jerry is also heavily involved in ABP’s national Marine Apprenticeship Scheme, with one of the trainees being based at the Port. 

ABP controls over 9 miles of water; stretching from Stoke Bridge to the Trimley marshes, but is most visual locally through its clean-up operation.  Every other Tuesday, the ‘floating rubbish basket’ is deployed and many bin bags are filled with accumulated rubbish; ensuring that our Marinas are kept as clean & attractive as possible.  

Jerry finishes our time together by telling me that The River Orwell is second only to the River Dart in the UK ‘beautiful river’ listings and I have learnt from our time together that this particular Captain takes the part that he plays in this status, very seriously indeed.