Name: Captain Murphy

Country of Origin: UK

Country of Current Residence: UK

Job Title: Poole Harbour Master

  1. Why did you become a Harbour Master and how long have you been in this role?

I’ve been a Harbour Master at Poole Harbour since 2008 following natural progression through the ranks at sea from GP Trainee to Captain and then ashore from Assistant Harbour Master/Pilot to Harbour Master. In 2018 I also took on the additional role of Marine & Port Director.


  1. What is a Harbour Master responsible for? 

A Harbour Master is responsible for the safety of navigation and protection of the environment.


  1. What specific qualifications and/or experience are required for this position?

Command at sea preferred, UKHMA Harbour Master Certificate (I have no.002, I wanted 007), emergency planning and response, accident/incident investigation, man management, port management…..the list goes on and on. You need to have a very good understanding of how ships operate, especially the bridge team. My time as Captain and later as pilot has helped in that regard. Oh and you need a lot of patience!


  1. Please describe a typical working day for you.

Arrive early, kettle on. Fill water bowl for dog (deputy Harbour Master) when I take him to work. Go through emails that I didn’t delete the night before and prioritise responses.

See what shipping is due for the day and who is on duty in each department. Then I go through the Safety Management System to chase up outstanding actions and consider recent entries.  Then its responding to whatever the day throws at you including pricing for new business.

  1. What personal qualities do you consider to be drivers of success for this position?

Safety conscious, motivated, thinking outside the box, person manager, approachable (door always open), problem solver, listener.


  1. If you weren’t a Harbour Master what other job would you have done and why?

When I left school I wanted to be a commercial artist but ended up at Gravesend Sea School (persuaded by parents) and didn’t look back.


  1. What do you enjoy most about your job?

The variety of everyday challenges that make the job very interesting. Have never been bored at work.


  1. What do you enjoy least?

I suppose the commute back from work which is about 1.5 hours. I look forward to the drive to work as it clears the mind ready for the days challenges.


  1. Which of your co-workers would you like to give a ‘shout out’ to and why?

It is very difficult to pick out a single colleague so won’t even try. The smooth operation of shipping arriving and departing and the safety of harbour users on the water is truly dependant on team work. As Harbour Master I am very blessed to have an amazing team which makes my life a whole lot easier. Whether it be Harbour Control, Pilotage, Towage, Engineering, Administration, Port Operations, Marine Services, Safety, Security or Harbour Patrol, every department works closely together to achieve the ultimate aim of providing  an effective, efficient and safe service. We want to retain existing customers and welcome new customers which is only achievable by excellent teamwork and service.

Apart from all that we have fun doing it 🙂


  1. Tell me something about yourself that not many people know! 😊

I used to play in a rock band called The Mighty Trumpet Company and once supported Dodgy and played on same stage as Kid Creole.

Our only album is available on iTunes and all other good music providers J. Maybe I should l change No.6 to “rock legend” LOL

Check us out here: