Ferry has a new skipper

Nicola Peach, the first female skipper on the Shields Ferry. Picture by Craig Leng.
Nicola Peach, the first female skipper on the Shields Ferry. Picture by Craig Leng.

The first female skipper has taken the helm on the cross-Tyne Shields Ferry.

Nicola Peach has taken the controls of the passenger service after securing her Boat Master’s Licence.

Nicola, 37, of Marsden in South Shields, joined the Ferry crew last autumn and has spent six months in training for the role.

She said: “It’s such a relief to get my boat licence. I’m delighted.

“The test was really thorough and I was a little bit nervous, but all of my training paid off and it went well.

“I want to thank all of the crew who helped me during the training. I’m now just looking forward to getting on with the job and carrying passengers across the Tyne.”

Nicola, who spent eight years in the Merchant Navy, was assessed on her knowledge of the vessel, the river, and safety procedures.

During her time in the merchant navy Nicola travelled all over the world and worked on board giant cargo ships and oil tankers.

Prior to Nicola joining the crew, Nexus had never previously had a successful female applicant in 44 years of operating the cross-Tyne service.

Shields Ferry Manager, Carol Timlin, said: “Nicola has done extremely well. We’re all delighted for her.

“She has passed her test at the first attempt. I never had any doubts, given her commitment to the training and her experience from her time at sea.

“She’s now officially the first female Shields Ferry skipper, certainly in the 44 years that Nexus has operated the service.

“My thanks go to all the other crew members who helped her with the training.”