Thursday, May 24, 2007

Mr. Launch Driver

Perhaps one of the best summer jobs out there is driving a launch (also known as a tender) for a private boat club. The launch driver's primary function is to take club members from their main dock to boats on moorings. Without the launch driver, boat owners would have to row a dinghy out to their boat (which could be an issue if you plan to bring six or seven guests).

In addition to driving people to their boats, the launch driver acts as the "knowledge command center" for a club: he (or she) will know weather conditions; facilitates visiting boats onto guest moorings; and most importantly keeps track of who's come and gone (this is important, if a boat has been gone for an unusually long time). The launch driver your editor is familiar with also can procure large bags of ice cheaply.

In Brooklyn, launch drivers must be licensed by the Coast Guard and pass a series of tests (the license is the same one needs to drive a NYC Water Taxi). The shot above shows Frank, who drives a launch for Sheepshead Bay YC and Miramar YC at work driving the SBYC tender. He's a college student and inherited this job from his brother, who drove a launch while he was in school.

We think the positives - working on the water, in the spring and summer, driving a boat, tips and regularly hourly pay - outweigh the negatives - outside, on the water, in the rain, sometimes dealing with difficult people.

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