All Aboard!

Anoud S

2 years ago

Sunshine, wind and nothing but the sound of water rippling as you tear through the sea, travelling through the deep blue is a novel experience, every time. If traffic and winding roads are not for you, then seafaring is the way to go.

Navigating us through the temperate waters of the Arabian Sea, is Jay J. Eler, Senior Boat Captain, Jalboot Marine Network. A man of calm demeanour, Jay guides us through a regular day on board. “The first thing I do is check the weather reports for the day and week ahead, so I can assess the impact on any scheduled sightseeing cruises or private charters that we have booked in.  If the weather is going to be rough, we will make adjustments”, he says as the sun shines bright, declaring it a perfect day for being out on the boat. “From there, my typical day involves working through a set of pre-defined checks on every vessel in our fleet, and an inspection of our jetty to ensure everything is as it should be.  A crew briefing will then happen with the team, where we will organise the day’s operational duties and discuss who is buying lunch!”

Spinning its web of key routes across Yas Island, Jalboot boasts connectivity between Al Bandar, Al Muneera, Yas Links, Yas Viceroy and Yas Marina on the Yas Local Service.  Those in the city can hop aboard the Abu Dhabi sightseeing ferry, stopping at Yas Island on its way around the city as well. With his eyes set for the sea and sail since he was a young boy, it is no surprise catching him hanging out at Al Muneera’s cafes during his spare time. But Jay isn’t alone when it comes to his love for the sea. “It’s the busiest around the island on Fridays and Saturdays – where we see everybody playing in the water – and sometimes jet skiing a little too close to our ferry for our liking!” he quips.

However, being the captain and a crew member is serious business. When asked what it takes, he says, “Lots of classroom time as well as hundreds of hours at sea in order to qualify as a Captain. In this industry you have to keep up to date, so I go for regular refresher courses.” Crew members do not have it easy either, “our crew must first receive the correct training and support from us first.  Once we feel that we have delivered that, we will then go through a number of drills and demonstrations with them before anybody is assigned to a live crew.”

One has to be prepared for anything at sea. The most important thing to remember? “To be calm under pressure.  Despite our own commitment to safety and planning ahead, things can happen unexpectedly out on the water – so being able to adapt without panicking in these situations is an important quality,” he clarifies. Also revealing what he believes sets Jalboot apart, “our standards are kept as high now as they were on the day that we opened the business.  That can only come from regular checks that our team performs.  It helps that we are all so passionate about giving our guests the best experience possible. Even the captain sometimes cleans the deck.”

If passengers should have any cause for complaint, another friendly face— Darin Souki, Assistant Manager of Customer Service and E-Commerce— is always eager and fully prepared to help resolve all issues, big or small. A zealous individual full of spirit, Darin elaborates on the reasons Jalboot has become a favourite mode of transport among visitors. She says, “It is not just a method of transportation between the islands. It is about the experience of being on the sea while the wind plays with your hair.” The secret to her ever-positive attitude? “The place is just magic.

You can see the sunset behind the Yas Viceroy while the cars from the F1 make that fantastic sound. Life is better at sea!” she proclaims with a genuine smile.

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