Shields Ferry gets two new skippers

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Two Shields Ferry crew members have secured their boat master’s licence.

Mark Eccles and Alan Bean successfully passed the tests that allow them to skipper the ferry from North and South Shields.

They were put through the maritime equivalent of a driving test, which they both passed with flying colours.

Mark, of North Tyneside, who works as afitter, went in for his master’s licence so that he can take charge of the ferry during the busy summer season, on top his duties of maintaining the vessels.

Alan, of Newcastle, who joined the crew in 2011 as second mate, has achieved his goal of becoming a qualified ferry skipper.

Both Mark and Alan were put through their paces by an examiner from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).

They were assessed on their knowledge of the vessel, the river and all of the relevant safety procedures required to carry passengers on an inland waterway.

Shields Ferry manager, Carol Timlin, was delighted for the pair.

She said: “I’m delighted that Mark and Alan have successfully secured their boat master’s licences.

“This is essential training.”