20th April 2020


Boatfolk stories: Colin McLean

Boatfolk Hero

My name is Colin Anthony McLean and I am 58 years old.

I have been boating since before I could walk, my father was a very keen sailor and we were encouraged to take up the hobby from an early age. By the time I was 15 I owned and regularly sailed a wooden clinker built folkboat between Northern Ireland and Islay in Scotland.

I am currently one of two assistant managers at Haslar Marina, Gosport. My main duties are looking after the structure and maintenance of the marina pontoon and grounds.

A typical day at Haslar would start with a full pontoon walk checking for cleanliness, boat mooring lines, fenders and generally chatting to berth holders and visitors. Due to my experience in and around Portsmouth Harbour, I try to answer any questions, usually regarding specific rules on entering the harbour, small boat channel and general navigation advice about the Solent. I am also occasionally asked for advice with boat handling, particularly within the marina. This is the best part of my job, talking to people about boats and boating!

When not at work I can generally be found on my beloved Westerly Renown Ketch “Seatangle 3” sailing around the Solent or south coast with my wife, and normally with at least one of my seven grandchildren.

On leaving school I joined The Royal Navy and was selected for submarine service based in HMS Dolphin. I served on diesel electric submarines for fourteen years, taking redundancy after the first Gulf War in 1991. After that my wife and I bought a house in Gosport and have been there ever since.

I had several businesses before becoming a coach driver and working my way up to an assistant transport manager. I took early retirement at the grand age of 55 and became a self-employed powerboat instructor.

As a keen boater, I had been into Haslar Marina as a visitor regularly and had always been impressed with the cheerful and helpful attitude of all the staff. So, when the opportunity came up, I joined the fantastic team in 2019 (full time after carrying out some casual work the previous year as a Marina Assistant).

My Biggest inspiration will always be my late father. He taught me to put 100% effort into everything I do, and if you want something, to do everything within your power to get it and never give up! I have always tried to live up to his teachings.

My ultimate dream would be to sail round the entire coast of the UK, taking several months to really enjoy it.

In my opinion I think boating is the most enjoyable, stress busting and relaxing thing to do. It covers just about everything you need in life including a great social scene. It can provide thrill and excitement in less than perfect conditions, or if you wish to take up racing, not to mention the endless opportunities for visiting different places.

To this end I am the Chief Instructor at the local Gosport Sea Cadets, encouraging kids from all backgrounds into a life at sea, either professionally or purely for pleasure.

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