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73


Interview by Ginny Farrell


Capt Geoff Holland HARBOURMASTER


A


lifelong sailor who has held various jobs on an array of ships from ferries through to cruise liners, and bulk and container vessels,


Captain Geoff Holland has also helmed several massive UK ports including Felixstowe and London Thamesport. These credentials, along with a three year stint as


harbour commissioner for Brightlingsea Harbour and a term as chairman of the UK Harbour Masters’ Association, armed him with good chance of bagging the job as Dartmouth’s Harbourmaster when the role came up last year. Following an extensive interview


process, Dart Harbour and Navigation Authority board offered him the role and Geoff moved down in February to work on the “beautiful” river he first fell in love with eight years ago while holidaying in the South Hams. “I said at the time “This would be a


P&O Containers and started a life in the Merchant Navy, travelling the world with a variety of companies. “I ended up working for probably one of my


favourite companies, called Swires in Australia, working in Papua New Guinea in the South Pacific Islands which was great fun.” Deciding to move back to the UK, Geoff joined the cruise ship company Saga followed by the Stena Line Ferry company. “I was working in various offices right through to


I said at the time “This would be a lovely port to be harbourmaster of”


lovely port to be harbourmaster of,” the 47-year-old recalled. “Circumstances changed in my life and I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity when I got offered a job here to take up the role. “It’s a great privilege and a lovely place to work; I


can’t knock it at all, it is beautiful down here. “I look out of the office every day and even if it’s


raining, it’s still pretty.” Geoff was brought up in Brightlingsea on the east


coast where he enjoyed sailing and watersports. He went though college on an apprenticeship with


master. It gave me a great grounding for different types of cargo ships, so I’ve got a fairly good basis with which to become a harbour master.” While working for Stena Line


Geoff became a voluntary harbour commissioner for Brightlingsea Harbour. “It was much the same as being a


Dart board member; you are in charge of the port marine safety code and


the implementation of it to make sure the harbour is running safely, and working with the harbourmaster to achieve this.”


He also sits on the Merchant Navy Welfare Board


looking out for the wellbeing of all seafarers. Deciding he wanted to work ashore, Geoff joined one of the biggest port operators in the world, Hutchinson Ports. He was appointed harbourmaster for Harwich


International, Felixstowe Port and London Thamesport. “Felixstowe, at the time, was probably the biggest container terminal in the UK, bringing in some of the


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