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POPULAR BEN THE ‘DECKIE’ IS NOW BEN THE ‘SKIPPER’! Just about everyone on our islands knows SeaLink ‘deckie’, Ben Greenway-Hall. Ben was born and bred on Russell Island, and he started out as a deck hand on our passenger ferries about 12 years ago. Well, we are pleased to tell you that Ben is no longer a deckie; He is now a Skipper!. Ben decided a while ago that he needed to up the ante and go further with his career. Starting out as a deckhand, his boyish good looks (he will hate that) saw him as the Poster Boy for the ferries. He was used for the on-board screening of safety procedures for many years. With a partner and a young son, Ben decided to go through the Maritime course to qualify as a ship’s mate/master, and with it, his life has changed. “There are so many more opportunities open to me now. “I now qualify to pilot many different types of vessels, as well as act as a ship’s mate on larger vessels,” Ben told The Friendly Bay Islander. That doesn’t mean Ben will be leaving anytime soon. He is just please to have qualifications that are life-changing for him. You will also notice that Ben sometimes still fulfils the role of a deckhand. That’s because he is helping out at SeaLink when and where he is needed. Being a ’skipper’ means a lot to him and his young family. And because many island ‘old hands’ have literally watch Ben grow up to be a fine young man, we are delighted for his new career opportunities and life-changing direction. Good on you Ben!

• Skipper Ben at the controls of a passenger ferry.