Nautilus member Captain Ian Henderson has set a group of UK primary school children on course for possible future careers at sea during their time with him on the bridge for a Yarmouth to Lymington Isle of Wight ferry crossing.
More than 40 pupils from the Federation of the Church Schools of Shalfleet and Yarmouth enjoyed a round trip aboard one of Wightlink's fleet as part of an ongoing partnership between the schools and the ferry company.
The youngsters were given an introduction into how a cross-Solent ferry works by island port operations manager Martin Gulliver. They also spent time on the bridge of the vessel Wight Light with Capt Henderson to find out how crew actually sail the ship across the Solent.
Capt Henderson commented: 'As my father was a marine engineer, I had the opportunity for many bridge visits on ferries while I was at school. These visits were undoubtedly influential for me. That's why I am keen to help out with Wightlink's partnership with local schools, raising awareness of maritime careers.'
School lead Liam Roberts said: 'All the children had a fantastic time onboard, giving them a much greater insight into how a boat operates. To have the opportunity to take part in a return passage and visit the bridge was absolutely fantastic and will stay with them for a long time. For days afterwards, the children were asking questions to the point that we were tracking vessels in the Solent and wondering where they would have been going.
'A number of children mentioned how they wanted to be like Captain Ian when they grow up which surely speaks volumes for the positive impact of the day.'
Mr Gulliver explained that part of the reason for entering into partnerships with the schools nearest to ports is to try to broaden pupils' horizons and to help them consider a maritime career.
'We are delighted that the pupils had such a good time and, who knows, maybe there is a future Wightlink captain amongst them,' he said.