The Questions: Rob McMullen -July 2018
Capt. Rob McMullen might have the best job on Nantucket. He spends his summers at the helm of the Wauwinet Lady, shuttling diners across Nantucket Harbor for lunch or dinner at TOPPER’S at the Wauwinet, and at night, he sleeps aboard his sailboat Snowy Egret.
How did you end up on Nantucket? Tell us your story.
I’m local. I was born at Cape Cod Hospital, 20 nautical miles north of Brant Point and just up the hill from the Steamship Authority terminal in Hyannis. I was brought here first as a baby by my parents. I was educated at Groton School and Tulane University. But I'm not on Nantucket that much. I only spend about an hour a day ashore. I work aboard the Wauwinet Lady every day, and at night I sleep aboard my sailboat.
Did you always know you’d have a life on the water? How did it come to be?
When I was a baby, my father would keep one fish box on his boat clean for my cradle. I grew up on the water. I sat for my captain’s license exam as soon as I was legally able, at age 18.
Describe, in brief, your typical workday, if there is such a thing.
I work from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. I make round-trips piloting the Wauwinet Lady between town and Wauwinet. This is my 25th year on the job. I have rounded Pocomo about 18,000 times at the helm of the Wauwinet Lady.
What do you do on foul-weather days?
We’re fortunate here, because our weather is usually fair in the summer due to the influence of the Bermuda high-pressure system. I don’t like to cancel the boat. If passengers are willing to put up with a little salt spray, I’m up for it.
Most days, it must be hard to complain about your job. That being said, what are the biggest challenges?
We have a liquor license for the Wauwinet Lady, and we serve drinks aboard during the dinner trip. Occasionally, due to similar drink preferences among the passengers, we get dangerously low on champagne.
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