The New York Citywide Ferry is offering a $2,500 signing bonus to qualified captains who join the Hornblower New York-operated public enterprise, as the company rapidly ramps up for a summer 2017 opening with its subsidiary HNY Ferry Fleet LLC.

A port captain, boats captains and deckhands are among positions advertised by Hornblower.

 The port captain will be in charge of a fleet of 19 aluminum catamaran ferries, now under construction at Horizon Shipbuilding Inc., Bayou La Batre, Ala., and at Metal Shark in Franklin, La. The first of those  85’4″x26’3″x11’6″, 149-passenger boats will be ready for delivery in spring.

The  vessels will run on six routes over 60 miles in all, from short crossings on the East River to the longest run out the harbor and east to Rockaway on the far ocean side of Queens. Construction is beginning this week on the Rockaway landing, according to the city Economic Development Corp. which sponsors the subsidized service.

For new boat captains, Hornblower is offering a $2,500 bonus, contingent on completion of all training and serving 90 days. Requirements include a Coast Guard master’s license for motor vessels of 100 gross tons.

Deckhand candidates must have a high school diploma, and have or be able to obtain a valid Transportation Worker Identification Card and first aid/CPR certification. Hornblower also specified that its deckhands, like the captains, must have “excellent customer service skills.”

The city's selection of Hornblower as Citywide Ferry operator had its critics, including some labor groups who had battled with the San Francisco-based parent company over its operations in California and New York. New York EDC officials defended their choice on that count, saying Hornblower had agreed to base pay of $15 for entry level jobs and plans to hire 150 new workers for the operation.


Contributing Editor Kirk Moore was a reporter for the Asbury Park Press for over 30 years before joining WorkBoat in 2015. He wrote several award-winning stories on marine, environmental, coastal and military issues that helped drive federal and state government policy changes. He has also been an editor for WorkBoat’s sister publication, National Fisherman, for over 25 years. Moore was awarded the Online News Association 2011 Knight Award for Public Service for the “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” 2010 series that led to the New Jersey state government’s restoration plan. He lives in West Creek, N.J.