The sixth annual National Ferry Fortnight got under way last week.
Organised by Discover Ferries under the auspices of the UK Chamber of Shipping, it is a celebration of the ferry travel industry from and around the British Isles, which each year serves some 38 million passengers.
To mark the fortnight, Isle of Man Newspapers is speaking to six members of the Steam Packet team, who are integral to the daily operation of the oldest continually operating passenger shipping company in the world.
Today we meet Wayne Lisy.
Name: Wayne Lisy
Post: Shore operations manager
Having joined the Steam Packet a month before his 16th birthday, Wayne Lisy will this year clock up two decades with the company.
He started his career as an office junior with Steam Packet Holidays, the company’s package holiday subsidiary, and in his current role he has overall responsibility for Douglas, Liverpool, Belfast and Dublin port operations, and more than 100 frontline staff who keep those ports running smoothly.
‘Steam Packet Holidays were known as “Magic Holidays” when I started on August 1, 1994,’ Wayne said.
‘I’d been keen to work in the travel industry after gaining some work experience in a travel agent during my final year at school. It’s been a great company to work for – they are willing to promote from within, and I moved to office supervisor and then manager for Steam Packet Holidays between 2004 and 2008, and was then Douglas terminal manager for five years before taking up my current post last year.
‘There’s always a new challenge, it’s never static, and I think that is what I’ve enjoyed the most from my time with the company.’
Wayne’s role also involves responsibility for implementing the company’s service disruption policy and its Passenger Charter, which includes ensuring that all customers are notified as efficiently as possible, should a sailing time be disrupted.
‘Technology has changed so much, with the introduction of our website and online booking system,’ said Wayne, who is married with 11-year-old twin girls.
‘We now have the ability to talk to our customers using so many different formats, whether it’s by text message, emails or via Facebook and Twitter.
‘When we have a disruption, we often need to get the message out very quickly to hundreds of passengers and over the last five or six years we have used text messages for this, and it’s proved a very efficient tool. We probably reach around 80 to 90 per cent of passengers that way. We always encourage people to leave their mobile numbers when making a booking, and more and more are doing that – particularly island residents, who know that the Manx weather is prone to creating some disruption from time to time!’
With so many facets to his job, it’s fair to say no day is ever the same.
Wayne said: ‘I could be reviewing risk assessments for the ports, discussing staff issues with our port managers, reviewing the budgets for each port, or planning staffing levels for specific events, such as the recent TT bookings expiry date, when we had several hundred people phoning in and we needed to manage that in terms of ensuring we had sufficient staff on duty.
After 20 years in the industry, Wayne knows a thing or two about why so many people enjoy ferry travel.
‘It’s a very relaxing experience,’ he said. ‘There’s no rushing through security, you are not confined to one place when on board, you can read or watch a movie – your trip unfolds at a leisurely pace.’