The Shields Ferry’s newest skipper celebrates getting his Boat Master Licence

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A Shields Ferry skipper is celebrating passing his boat master’s test just six months after becoming part of the crew.

Phil Knox, from Newcastle, has completed his ferry driving licence and taken on an extra management role since he joined the Shields Ferry crew in October 2022.

With the 35-year-old already becoming a team leader, passing his boat master’s test means he will receive the Boat Master Licence to become a Shields Ferry skipper.

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As a result, he can now take charge of the vessel, which crosses the River Tyne, unsupervised.

Phil Knox is the Shields Ferry’s newest skipper. Phil Knox is the Shields Ferry’s newest skipper.
Phil Knox is the Shields Ferry’s newest skipper. | Nexus

Phil, who previously worked for the Port of Tyne, was put through the test by an examiner from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) on April 12 and he passed the test with flying colours.

As part of the exam, he was assessed on his knowledge of the vessel, the river, and all the relevant safety procedures that are required to carry passengers on an inland waterway.

After finding out he had passed the boat master’s test, Phil said: “I’m absolutely delighted to have passed my boat licence test. All those months of hard work have paid off.

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“The test was really detailed. It is a bit like taking a driving test. I was in the wheelhouse of the ferry with an MCA examiner who was carefully watching what I was doing and asking me lots of questions.

“It took a total of two hours and forty minutes to complete the test. He was checking I could drive the ferry competently, and that I knew all of the relevant safety procedures and rules of the river.

“It was fantastic to hear him tell me that I had passed. The Shields Ferry is a brilliant local service and it’s a huge honour to work there.”

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