Peachy new job for Nicola as she becomes first woman captain of Shields Ferry

Nicola Peach at the helm of the Shields Ferry.
Nicola Peach at the helm of the Shields Ferry.

The cross-Tyne Shields Ferry service has its first female skipper at the helm.

Nicola Peach had to sit the maritime equivalent of a driving test, which she has passed with flying colours.

By getting her boat master’s licence Nicola is able to take the controls of the ferry in passenger service, on daily crossings and on Tyne river trips.

Nicola, 37, of Marsden in South Shields, joined the ferry crew last autumn and has spent six months in training for the role.

She said: “It’s such a relief to get my boat licence. I’m delighted.

“The test was really thorough and I was a little bit nervous, but all of my training paid off and it went well.

“I want to thank all of the crew who helped me during the training.

"I’m now just looking forward to getting on with the job and carrying passengers across the Tyne every day.”

Nicola was put through her paces by an examiner from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).

She was assessed on her knowledge of the vessel, the river, and all of the relevant safety procedures required to carry passengers on an inland waterway.

Prior to Nicola joining the crew, Nexus had never previously had a successful female applicant in 44 years of operating the cross-Tyne service.

Her maritime experience from eight years in the Merchant Navy proved vital.

During her time in the merchant navy Nicola travelled all over the world and worked on board giant cargo ships and oil tankers.

And those skills mean that she has taken to the much smaller craft like a duck to water.

Shields Ferry manager, Carol Timlin, said: “Nicola has done extremely well. We’re all delighted for her.

“She has passed her test at the first attempt. I never had any doubts, given her commitment to the training and her experience from her time at sea.

“She’s now officially the first female Shields Ferry skipper, certainly in the 44 years that Nexus has operated the service.

“My thanks go to all the other crew members who helped her with the training.”