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After just a few minutes spent with Robbie Coleman, two of his passions become very clear. One is the River Thames: ‘It’s full of so much history and every day is different, even if it’s just a change of tide,’ he says. A Queen’s waterman, he followed his father into the age-old profession at 16 and has never looked back, joining Silver Fleet 20 years ago.
His captaincy of the company’s flagship Silver Sturgeon is another source of pride: ‘She’s the biggest passenger vessel on the river and the most luxurious,’ he says proudly. High points over the years have included hosting Princes William and Harry on the bridge, and more recently Russell Crowe while he was filming Proof of Life. And low points? ‘Working on cold winter days when the ropes freeze.’
Coleman’s favourite part of his job is passing Tower Bridge at night. ‘Sailing up river under the bridge towards the City, you can’t beat it.’
Silver Fleet, tel: 020 7481 2711,
This article first appeared in Square Meal Venues & Events magazine, Autumn 2009