Retiring pair Herb and Judy Sherman are ready to hit the road in their RV after both retired — he as a captain for North Ferry and she as a registered nurse manager at the San Simeon Day Care Program.The two marked their retirements Monday with a celebration of their 52nd wedding anniversary.
Mr. Sherman called it a career on the boats after 38 to 40 years — a job that consumed most of his work life, while running tugboats took up the times he was off from the ferry service.
Ms. Sherman was a registered nurse at San Simeon in Greenport for 24 years and retired, only to be called back to assist when the nursing and rehabilitation center started its day care program. That was to be a couple of days a week for a short while, but turned into five more years.
Now the two are looking to “putt around the country” visiting some places they’ve seen before and some they’ve missed, Mr. Sherman said. First stop will be in Alaska.
Looking back on his ferry career, he recalls the 1991 “No Name” storm, a nor’easter that struck the Atlantic coastline that became the basis for “The Perfect Storm” book and movie.
“That was a nasty two days” to be a ferry captain, Mr. Sherman said. And, of course, there was Superstorm Sandy that closed down the ferry for awhile, not because the boats couldn’t make it through the water, but it was impossible to get cars onboard with the high surf.
He also recalled a winter in the 1960s when one roundtrip between Shelter Island and Greenport took eight hours — four hours each way — because boats were small and ice was thick.
“You can see global warming now,” he said, because as bad as the ice was this winter, he could still get boats through.
His advice to those considering a career with North Ferry: “It’s a great opportunity, but you can’t be scared of the weather.”
“They’re the best bosses ever,” he said about North Ferry management.
General Manager Bridg Hunt returned the compliment calling Mr. Sherman “a great captain” and “an excellent boat handler.”
“After all these years, if you don’t know how to run a boat, you ought to go and dig a ditch,” Mr. Sherman said.
His retirement signals promotions for others with the ferry service, Mr. Hunt said.
“Everybody will get a bump,” he said.