Tressa Hall

No matter what you have a degree in, where you're working or what kind of experience you have, working on the water can be just one big decision away.

Before becoming a deckhand for Blue & Gold Fleet, Tress Hall was a sales representative for Pepsi.

BY MATT LARSON

 

No matter what you have a degree in, where you’re working or what kind of experience you have, working on the water can be just one big decision away. That was the case for Tressa Hall. Before working as a deckhand for Blue & Gold Fleet, she was a sales representative for Pepsi. With only two years in the field now, she’s already begun her training toward becoming a ferry captain.

 

“I have a best friend who is a merchant seaman for the Navy,” she said. “He was telling me about his job, and I thought that it would be fun to be on the water.”

 

It took some time to make the decision to leave her job with Pepsi and start a new career, but Hall has been enjoying every minute of her time at Blue & Gold and is excited to come to work in the morning. “There’s never a dull moment,” she said. “I love being out on the water and learning about how the boats operate. That’s what I love about this job—I’m always learning something different every day.”

 

Before working with Blue & Gold, she never knew about the ferry service to Sausalito and Tiburon—she’d never even been to Tiburon. But now, she’s an expert on the waterways of the San Francisco Bay. The bridges of the Bay are still her favorite sights when she’s at work, especially the Golden Gate Bridge during a sunset or sunrise. “I never get bored with this job,” she said.

 

A Texas native and mother of four, Hall first moved to California around 1995. No longer a newcomer to the Bay, she’s now the one who’s directing tourists on where to go for the best experiences. Her top recommendations for travelers are visiting Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf. She also recommends riding a bike over the Golden Gate to Sausalito and taking the ferry back.

 

Hall also appreciates engaging with the commuters and getting to know them. “You really have to be a people person,” she said. “And you have to have patience because you deal with a lot of different people and different cultures.” Interacting with her regular commuters is always a highlight of the day. “You get to learn who they are, they get to learn who you are, and it’s just wonderful getting to greet them.”

 

Enjoying every minute as a deckhand, Hall still has her eyes on the captain’s seat. She’s already gained some experience up in the helm and has begun honing her skills on one of the most difficult parts of the job as a captain—landing the boat. “Every time I do a good landing I get more and more excited,” she said. She loves a good challenge, and she chose well by deciding to work toward being a captain. “I think having control of that ferry, especially when it’s rough with the tides or even when it’s not rough, I just think that’s really amazing.”

 

When she’s not crewing a ship or practicing her boat landings, Hall is often found cooking at her Brentwood residence. “I get a thrill out of seeing people happy and smiling when they’re eating my food,” she said. “I’m a southern girl, so you’re gonna get the southern food—fried chicken, mac and cheese, greens, grits, stuff like that. I love to cook.” That love for hospitality goes all the way to her job working on the ferry, which in her opinion is the greatest reason to use it.

       

“The ferries are very comfortable, very clean, and you have options,” she said, noting that ferry riders can get a cup of coffee on board in the morning and have a drink from the bar on the way home from work. Even using the bathroom is a luxury that a car or a BART train can’t provide. “They make it very comfortable for riders on the ferry,” she said. “Plus, you’re on the water, there’s no traffic and you get to see the Bay from a different angle.”