Captain Dave Macomber

Captain Macomber
Captain Macomber

For Dave Macomber, the wildlife on the Delaware Bay is always changing. As one of eight captains of the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, he might see a flock of rare gannets and a pod of frolicking dolphins one day, and seals sunning themselves on the rocks and a stingray or butterfly migration the next.

Then there's the weather. One day, the bay might be smooth as glass; the next, rough with chopping waves.  Macomber has been through blizzards and, at times, has had to break through icy waters.

It takes an average of 10 years to meet the requirements of a license.

Passengers also provide interest when they hold their weddings (yes, the captain can marry you, but it's only legal as long as you're on board), bachelor parties and birthdays on the ferry.

Macomber's job is different every day, but he and his crew are always ready for what Mother Nature and his passengers have in store. 

Macomber has 40 years of experience in the maritime industry. He had to work his way through numerous ranks, hours of time on the water, and tests to qualify for a Coast Guard license to pilot the ferry.  "We are a segment of the Merchant Marine, and it takes an average of 10 years to meet the requirement for a license," he says.