YOUNG Narooma man Nick Cowley will give the keynote address at the Moruya TAFE graduation tonight.
He might also be in line for a maritime excellence award and just happens to be one of the youngest charter boat skippers around.
At the age of 18, he is already leading fishing trips out of Narooma on the boat Playstation on a daily basis.
His boss Benn Bolton from Charter Fish Narooma had great faith in the young skipper and joked that he bring back his second boat Nitro to Narooma so that Nick could have his own boat to skipper.
“I don’t know of any younger skipper anywhere,” Bolton said.
“He has a great work ethic and drives the boat very responsibly – I get calls all the time from clients so impressed with his work and how good the trips are.”
Nick completed all his coxswain studies, including his skipper qualification, while attending Narooma High School from which he graduated last year.
He moved to Narooma about five years ago but had always been around boats and the sea, as his dad owned a marine dealership in Shepparton.
“I’ve always loved being on boats and driving boats,” Nick said.
“I have been a deckhand for the last few years working for Ben and doing my coxswains course at the same time – it all just seemed to fit into place.”
He actually completed the coxswain’s course as part of his TVET course in Year 11 and then last year in Year 12 he took two nights a week in between his HSC classes to complete his Master V ticket.
Even though he has completed the course, he will only receive this advanced qualification when he turns 19, as per regulation.
He has also done his MED3 marine engineering course but again has to wait till his 19th birthday in June to get the qualifications.
He said he was grateful to his school and to TAFE for allowing him to combine his studies saying the “TAFE teachers were really good”.
For now he has dream job, heading out to Montague Island and the fishing grounds off Narooma most days.
“I want to keep getting qualifications, but I love the fishing and love being out on the water, even when the fishing is not good,” Nick said.