Garry Mason

For more than two years now, Garry Mason has been working as a deckhand on ferry boats throughout the San Francisco Bay.

As a casual deckhand, Garry Mason works on different boats throughout the Bay for both Golden Gate and San Francisco Bay Ferry.

BY MATT LARSON

 

For more than two years now, Garry Mason has been working as a deckhand on ferry boats throughout the San Francisco Bay. He could be working in Vallejo one day, Alameda the next, and Marin the day after that. “I work all over,” he said. “With seniority, you know where you’re going. I’m working toward that now, but it’s exciting not knowing where you’re going to be.”

 

Mason has gotten to know the Bay’s ins and outs pretty well. “You have to know your buoys, your points like Point Pinole, Point Molate, Point San Pablo—it’s almost like riding down the freeway to me, knowing all the exits,” he said. “You learn a lot.”

 

Learning new things on the job is part of the excitement for Mason. This being his first venture into the maritime industry, he’s always looking to see what else he can add to his expertise, enjoying it every step of the way. “I like being outside, I like the water, the whole thing,” he said. “I really like the job.” He doesn’t mind getting to work, doesn’t mind doing the work. Really, it’s hard to have a bad day when it’s your job to take a cruise through the beautiful San Francisco Bay.

 

Having lived in the Bay Area since childhood, Mason cares passionately about his community, especially the City of Richmond, where he currently resides. With friends and family living all over town, he objected to crime and violence in his city, so he decided to take action and formed the group 1Richmond.

 

“Fighting crime, Richmond style,” he said. “I went and handpicked some guys from all over town that were reputable from each neighborhood, brought them together and we started stopping the violence.” In association with the City of Richmond, Mason and his group of more than 30 local residents help clean up local parks, assist people in need with housework, and pick up trash all over town. They also help out with the local youth.

 

Once a month they’d put their money together to take kids out to do something special, like going to a Raiders or 49ers game, and they brought kids from all different sides of town. Mason told us this was met with a lot of concern that the kids weren’t going to get along, but the people that were brought on the trip were carefully selected.

 

“You’d look around and see the kids running, playing with each other, when normally you couldn’t get them to talk to each other,” he said. Mason got tired of seeing violence, especially when he had cousins on one side of town and his son on the other. “I had to wake them up,” he said. “This person ain’t done nothin’ to you, you ain’t done nothin’ to him, but you think you gotta prove something to your neighborhood by keeping this going? No, prove something to your neighborhood by stoppin’ it.”

 

When it’s time for a break from helping his community, or helping the commuters on the ferry boats, you’ll probably find Mason fishing, riding his motorcycle, or doing target practice at the shooting range. You may even find him taking advantage of Richmond’s new ferry terminal as a passenger just like you.

 

“If I have to go to the city for something, that’s the way I’m going; it’s a wonderful way to travel,” he said. “I mean, BART’s nice, the bus is good, but the ferry’s off the hook. All the stuff I enjoy about it, you get to see it up close and personal from a customer’s point of view.”

 

So say hello to Mason next time you see he’s on board, especially because he might not be there the day after as he could be working on one of the other ferries. Thank him for his service to his community, and maybe get some fishing tips as well.