Captain Jan Tiura
2006 marked Jan Tiura's 30th year working aboard tugboats. Born in Berkeley and raised on the San Mateo County coast, she was always fascinated by water. Sailing a small sailboat to the Galapagos Island in 1972 ruined her for conventional life ashore. But until joining the Inland Boatmen's Union, she was unable to find work on any boats. Instead, Tiura free-lanced as a photographer and mountaineer.
When she finally broke into the all-male ranks of tugboat crew, Tiura started out as a deckhand, and then quickly rose through the hierarchy to become the first woman tugboat captain on San Francisco Bay. Captain Jan Tiura, a
"hawsepiper,” has now been driving tugboats for more than 25 years. She has operated all types and sizes of conventional tugs, single and twin-screw, and direct-reversible tugs.
Tiura worked for Red Stack for more than 17 years, then free-lanced around the bay while also captaining the USS Potomac. She learned the mysterious art of tractor (tug) driving at BayDelta. She is currently a Senior Captain with Starlight Marine Services, where she has worked since 2003.
Although Tiura made and sold photographs throughout her maritime career, it was the advent of small, high-quality digital cameras that enabled her to capture the work on the bay while doing it.