A Coleraine man has become the first ever Irish man to take charge of the world famous sea-going paddle steamer, the Waverley.
Ross Cochrane, (29), a former Coleraine Inst pupil, succeeds Captain Andy O’Brian as skipper of the famous vessel.
Waverley is one of the world’s greatest historic ships – the last sea-going paddle steamer in the world – magnificently restored with towering funnels, timber decks and gleaming varnish and brass.
Coleraine man Ross started his career with P&O Cruises throught the Merchant Navy at Southampton in 2004.
He did his initial qualifications at Warsash Maritime Academy, and held the rank of navigator with P&O.
Speaking to The Times last week from from the vessel, currently in dry dock in Glasgow, Ross described his new role as ‘unique’.
“The boat uses a paddle system, not your coventional propellar that I was used to before, worlds away from giant cruise liners I have been used to.
“I’m very conscious of her historic status and uniqueness and this is a senior master’s job like no other, “ he said.
Ross, who grew up in the Mountsandel area added: “I’m very excited about my first season and I’ll be working to gain my pilotage exemption certificates for our operating areas.”
He went on: “I worked a relief week on Waverley during the 2015 season, and handled the boat several times. Let’s just say I was hooked, and applied for the job when it became vacant.” Waverley spends the summer exploring the West Coast of Scotland, but Ross will be bringing her to Red Bay later in July.