Boat Captain Bill Lyness
Bill Lyness, boat captain with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, gets ready for a day commanding the Gelberman, a drift collection vessel in the New York Harbor.

NOTE: See video here: http://bit.ly/iqf75D

JERSEY CITY, NJ - A running tease between the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy is that the Army has more boats than the Navy. (This is only true because the Navy classifies the majority of its vessels as 'ships' not 'boats'). Many of the Army's boats belong to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which maintains many of the nation's navigable waterways to ensure safe passage for commercial, recreational, and law enforcement needs.

And one of the many jobs the Army Corps offers to civilians is boat captain.

"I love my job," said Bill Lyness, boat captain of the Gelberman, a drift collection vessel in the New York Harbor. "I have the best job. ... We get to go out and help the environment and also help the people who work in the harbor."

Part of Lyness's job is to oversee a crew that picks up 'floatables' - anything that floats on the water and could damage passing watercraft or damage the environment. This includes large pieces of wood that have fallen off piers and even plastic bottles.

"We all feel very strongly about what we do. And I think the nice thing about it is that we all believe it is a worthwhile job here in the harbor. Not only are we protecting the environment but we're also protecting people's lives on the recreational side, the commercial side, and the law enforcement side."

Today, the Corps maintains about 300 commercial harbors, through which pass two billion tons of cargo a year, and more than 600 smaller harbors. With more than 13 million American jobs dependent on our import and export trade, these harbors are vital to our economic security.

A boat captain is a licensed professional in command of a vessel and responsible for its safe and efficient operation, including navigation and crew management. Boat captains are an integral part to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The job is never boring. And neither are the people in it.

Meet Bill Lyness: http://bit.ly/iqf75D

Page last updated Tue April 12th, 2011 at 14:26