Meet Matthew Gill, Port Captain for Statue City Cruises. Matthew has a deep history with the Statue of Liberty Ferry: At just 14, he began spending his summers and weekends working as a guest service agent. He worked in other positions on the ferry over the years, from a dock attendant to a deckhand. After working in a different industry for several years, his love of being on the water led him back to the ferry.
What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
I check the weather. As a boat captain, you learn to become an amateur meteorologist quickly. Using and working with the conditions mother nature gives you is a recipe for success; the alternative isn’t as pleasant.
How would you describe a typical day in your role?
A day as Port Captain at Statue is unpredictable. We are responsible for the marine operations to the world’s most famous icon—a responsibility we do not take lightly. We ensure the vessels, crew, and landings are in the best shape possible to create amazing experiences for our guests. Whatever it takes, we get it done. From administrative work to steering the vessels, we make sure our great employees are in the best position to make every trip on time and safely.
What motivates you?
I was always motivated and inspired by Chief Operating Officer Scott Thornton’s journey with Hornblower, starting as a bartender and growing to a top-level executive. Scott interviewed me for my first position with Hornblower as a deckhand. I am glad to speak with confidence about the growth potential Hornblower can offer its employees with the right drive and dedication.
If you want our guests to take away one thing during their experience, what would it be?
America is a nation of immigrants. Nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population can trace their ancestry though Ellis Island, a place I report to daily, watching boats arrive and drop off passengers at the same place my ancestors arrived. If you forget where you come from, you will never make it where you’re going. It gives me great hope to be reminded daily of my ancestors’ humble beginnings as new Americans.
What do you love most about the City you work in?
New York, New York: a city so nice they named it twice. If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. I am a proud New Yorker and am extremely privileged to see her by sea each day. It never gets old.
When guests visit your city, what is one local place you love that is a “must see”?
In a city known for its pizza, you need to try the best: John’s of Bleeker Street. One bite and everyone knows it rules.