The Exchange’s primary role is providing communications and information services to a mix of Puget Sound-based steamship agents and operators, tug boat operators, ship chandlers, port authorities, and state and federal agencies along with a wide range of maritime industry support businesses.
As an Operations Dispatcher I worked closely with Seattle shipping companies, USCG Vessel Traffic Service (VTS), US Dept. of Agriculture, Tug & Barge outfits, and US Customs and Immigration to coordinate deep draft shipping vessel traffic in and out of the Puget Sound and Grays Harbor, WA. We maintained direct contact with the pilots who directed the vessels inbound and subsequently kept waiting services and clients informed at their specific direction, whatever time of day. We published a daily newsletter of all traffic in port, expected in or headed out.
The remaining job was as the answering service for eighty plus Seattle shipping industry companies during their off-hours. Case-by-case rules and preferences required attention to detail and discretion.
Early in my tenure, one co-worker explained to me, "Half of this job isn't knowing what you're doing, it's acting like it." This meant if someone called asking a question where I didn't know the answer, I wasn't to say "I have no idea," I was to say, "Of course I can get that for you." Then put them on hold and either figure it out, or call someone who could.
Why Aren't I Still Working There?
The shipping industry leaves a lot to be desired regarding salary and that played a part. But, the main reason I left was I was twenty years old and eager for different challenges. Next stop, Commercial Fisherman, Bering Sea, Alaska.
Marine Exchange of Puget Sound
Continues today: View Current Site
What Tools Did I Use
100 button call directory, Telex, Fax, UHF/VHF & SSB radio.
What Skills Did I Employ
Professional customer service, communication management, acute attention to detail.