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The Captain Tells Us About His 27 Years With the Catalina Express

Written By: Nicole Hakim
Photographed By: Chad Mellon

Expert: Captain Mando
Credentials: Captain of the Catalina Express

Q: What drew you to work in the ferry business?

Captain Mando: I grew up on the water. When I was 18, I always wanted to work on a boat and Catalina Express hired me as a deckhand. I had no experience, but I had a great mentor who took me under his wing. It was my calling. I’ve been doing it for 27 years now.

Q: What are some challenges you have faced during your time at Catalina Express?

CM: The weather, during the winter season. We can carry up to 250 people on a vessel. It is stressful at times because I know that I am responsible for the safety and well being of our passengers, and it is important to me that they start their trip on a positive note.

Q: What is your favorite part about working for Catalina Express?

CM: People are friendly and the crew is like my family. I met a lot of good people here, and it opened up more doors for me, like working on a tugboat on the side.

Q: What is your favorite activity to do on Catalina? 

CM: I fish on the backside of the island with a lot of my friends who have boats. I do a lot of watersports, including snorkeling and spearfishing.

Q: If you weren’t a captain, what would you be? 

CM: When I got my license in 1996, I had an application to be a longshoreman, but I decided not to go that route. I was also thinking of becoming a paramedic. When I was a busboy at 15, a young medic was doing everything he could to help a lady, and I told myself, “I want to do that.” I like working with and helping people.

Q: What do you like to do when you’re not transporting people on Catalina Express? 

CM: I’m a runner. I do a lot of half marathons and 10 kilometer runs, and I hope to run a full marathon someday. I do a lot of outside activities like working on my house.

Q: If you could travel by boat anywhere, where would you go? 

CM: Maybe the Virgin Islands or Greece. I’ve always wanted to do something like that. Maybe when I retire, I can rent a boat and just go sailing. It seems like the ocean has always called to me.

I-Sea-You: Captain Mando has told himself that he would stay away from the water when he retires, but he always gets an itch to go back if he stays away for too long.

I’m On A Boat! For contests, events and promotions sign-up for the Catalina Express monthly e-news at CatalinaExpress.com.

Catalina Express
320 Golden Shore
Long Beach, CA 90802
800.613.1212

Ever Wonder What It’s Like to Drive the Catalina Express?

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