Working Wednesdays: The Easiest Job In The World – ‘Gangway Man’

Jonny Blair working on the gangway on cross channel ferries in 2009

Working as a Gangway Man – the easiest job in the world, but an amusing incident soon followed…

When you move around a lot, you jobs change often and perhaps the best job I ever had was when I worked on ferries – being paid to travel must be good! So this week’s Working Wednesday comes from my time being ‘Gangway Man’ on the ferries.

While some people hate thinking about their jobs, I have the opinion that every job is an experience to be cherished and simply another door on life’s corridor. I give 100% when I’m in work, but when I leave it’s my life and my job stays in work!! Anyone who lets a job run their life is actually (sometimes without realising it) not in control of their own life. Have a think about it. This is my life and it always has been. Yes, I’ve worked for countless companies and worked my ass off for them, but only during paid time 😉

Admiring the walls of St Malo in work

Getting paid to admire views like the one at St. Malo harbour in France

I love looking back on the jobs I’ve had and piecing some work memories together. After all it’s all the money I earned from my countless jobs that has given me the chance to see the world! I’m heading back to 2009 now for today’s featured work related story.

Cross Channel Ferries in England

Back in 2009 I was working on the Cross Channel Ferries: England, Guernsey, Jersey, France

I was working on the cross channel ferries that ran from England to Jersey, Guernsey and France. I worked 4 days on and 2 days off (except that for the love of money and travel on my days off and 2 of my days on, I had another job!) and the perks of the job were immense I must say! Check them out:

– Free travel while working 4 days out of 6 (OK, I was working most of the time, but being paid to travel each day is great!)
– Free food and drinks at work

duty free on board the cherbourgboat

Another bonus of working on ferries is taking advantage of heavily discounted duty free alcohol and tobacco!

– Cheap cigarettes and alcohol (I don’t smoke and at the time I had quit alcohol for 6 months, but I could buy cheap duty free stuff, then get staff discount then sell them for a profit)

cycling around Sark

Cycling round the car-free island of Sark on one of my days off

– Getting to see new islands like Guernsey, Jersey, Herm, Sark, Lihou (admittedly I had to do them on my days off to see them but still!!)

Docked at Guernsey in 2009

I must have landed in Guernsey about 60 times in 2009! But I still found time to tour the island!

– Meeting a range of nationalities again (French and English mostly, but also Spanish, New Zealand, Polish, Romanian, South African)

– Speaking a bit of French (je ne sais pas pourquoi)

– Guaranteed travel every day in work

– Chatting to fellow travellers – my customers!

Ferry steward work from Poole to Cherbourg

2009 – Getting paid to travel – working as a ferry steward on the Poole to Cherbourg routes!

The job on the boats itself had many different aspects to it however and I mostly worked in the cafe and restaurant which I loved. However today I look at the times in that job that I was on Gangway Patrol. This was the easiest job on our crew, and believe it or not it was one of my least favourite jobs on the boat, even though it guaranteed you would be working in three countries in one day.

loading cars in Guernsey

Getting paid to watch the ferry load up with passengers in St Peter Port in Guernsey

Your job on the Gangway was split into a few main parts, I cannot remember every detail, but it ran something like this:

1. Making sure the Gangway walkway for foot passengers was put down properly

2. Making sure not to leave the Gangway walkway for foot passengers while passengers were boarding

3. Any suspicious items – take them to the bridge (I confiscated a Spear Gun once!)

spear gun at St Helier Jersey

Confiscating a Spear Gun on route to Jersey!

4. Check some documents on leaving harbour and hand them to the bridge

5. Check there are no passengers on the car deck once you’ve left harbour (didn’t have to check the ‘bow doors’ – I worked mostly on catamarans.

Docked in Cherbourg Oscar Wilde

Arrival in Cherbourg – view from the gangway! Not bad, eh?

6. Once you arrive in the destination port, get off the boat with some passengers and take them to arrivals along with a document for the harbour staff which comes from the bridge.

So that’s 6 of the main parts of the job but really they could be:

1. Stand around holding a walkie talkie watching sunsets while passengers board the boat

2. Talk to passengers about their holidays and basically act like a traveller

3. Take photos of the boat leaving port

4. Walk up to the bridge to talk to the captain and check out the views

5. Staff room for a free tea and a packet of sandwiches

6. Visit another country – head off the boat and walk around like a tourist.

window between Poole and St Malo

Working away on the car deck between Poole and St Malo!!

So there you have it – I was once ‘Gangway Man’ on the England to France ferries and it was easy. My highlights were – sitting on the car deck doing nothing while docked in harbour, smuggling a spear gun into Jersey!

As working Wednesdays go, this is possibly as easy as your working life will ever get.

Don’t Stop Living!

A video I took while doing Gangway Patrol:

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