Alvin Haymon

As Blue & Gold Fleet celebrates its 40th anniversary, Alvin Haymon is celebrating his fourth year with the company as a deckhand and looking forward to his first as a captain. He recently completed his captain's evaluation, so by the time you read this, Haymon may be up in the helm already.

Deckhand Alvin Haymon during training to become a captain. Blue & Gold has a history of encouraging employees to work their way up the ranks. For more, see our cover story on page 12.

BY MATT LARSON

 

As Blue & Gold Fleet celebrates its 40th anniversary, Alvin Haymon is celebrating his fourth year with the company as a deckhand and looking forward to his first as a captain. He recently completed his captain’s evaluation, so by the time you read this, Haymon may be up in the helm already.

 

According to Haymon, the only downside of his transition from deckhand to captain is that he won’t get to interact with the commuters as much, which was one of his favorite parts of the deckhand job. “Pretty much every day you meet someone different,” Haymon said. “You get to know people by face, some by name; I really like that.”

 

He plans to come down and greet the passengers when appropriate, but for now he’s looking forward to being the one responsible to get commuters and tourists to and from their destinations. “Being on the ferry, with passengers, is like a dream job,” he said. “Seeing them smile brings a smile to my face every day.”

 

Haymon said that no day is ever the same working on a ferry out in the Bay, and the differences are especially apparent from up in the wheelhouse. “The current, the wind, the conditions change your approach a lot of the time,” Haymon explained. These factors especially come into play for landing—or, as some would say, “parking”—the vessel at the ferry terminal.

 

“The landing is where the magic happens,” Haymon said. “You want to set yourself up for the best possible landing; I go in with an idea of what I want to do. As I’m making that approach, if everything is working as I planned it, then great. If not, then I have to make the adjustments.”

 

Over the years, Haymon has collected hundreds of photos while traversing the Bay. He likes to point out landmarks to the passengers, like the East Brother Light Station. On the way back to Vallejo from San Francisco, he always makes sure to point out the Golden Gate Bridge shining bright between Alcatraz and Angel Island. “That’s one of my favorite spots,” he said. “The views never get old.”

 

Born in Oakland, Haymon grew up in Fairfield, which is where he currently lives. When he’s not working for Blue & Gold, specifically on the Vallejo commute run, he’s probably spending time with his wife, Michelle, and his children, Jaden and Savannah. During his free time, he may take his 2018 Dodge Charger out for a spin, or ride his 2016 Harley Lowrider down to Pismo Beach or up to Oregon.

 

Cars, motorcycles, the ferry—when it comes to transportation, Haymon’s covered all the bases. “It’s the freedom of moving from point A to point B,” he said. “What happens in between, you know, is sometimes unpredictable.”

 

We don’t know whether the founders of Blue & Gold predicted they’d be celebrating 40 years, but Haymon has a pretty good idea of how they did it. “They strive to be the best at everything they do,” he said. “The quality of service is above and beyond, in my opinion. And they’re innovative—coming up with new ideas, new ways, and of course they stick to the old ways that work.”

 

According to Haymon, customer service especially is what makes Blue & Gold stand out from the rest. “From the time you walk on to Pier 41, someone’s going to approach you if you look like you have a question,” he said. “From the people who work the gates to those working in the boats, you don’t get personal experiences like that with other companies.”

 

In addition to top-notch service, you’ll find a smooth ride home with some of the best views on earth. “You can’t beat it,” Haymon said. “The ferry is definitely the best way to travel. As a passenger, you don’t have the responsibilities of driving.” Leave that up to Haymon. “And when you look out both ways, you’ve got a beautiful scene on each side.”