The “pink balls” make millions by running boats on the sea

The profession of boating at An Thoi port (Phu Quoc City, Kien Giang) has many potential dangers, but in return for a stable income, sometimes reaching the milestone of millions of dong a day, many women try to stick to it. subsistence sea.

With the sea and island terrain, “Pearl island” Phu Quoc has many famous attractions, one of which is Hon Thom, Hon Roi… located on the south coast, An Thoi ward, Phu Quoc city, Kien Giang

There are many types of transportation from the mainland to the islands such as cable cars, canoes, cruise ships, and boats. In particular, the boat is a means of transport that has been present for a long time at An Thoi seaport, currently, most of the boating jobs are carried out by women. 

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An Thoi seaport is a place of livelihood for many people, including women who work as boatmen (Photo: Bao Ky).

At 8 am, our group was present at An Thoi port to rent a boat to Hon Roi. Seeing customers need to take the ferry, a woman in her 40s, wearing a coat, covering her body, came to “put a price”. Thuan bought and sold, we boarded the boat of the female driver, Nguyen Thi Da, an excellent driver with more than 20 years of experience. 

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Ms. Nguyen Thi Da took the delegation to visit Hon Roi. This is a small island located in the An Thoi archipelago – Phu Quoc (Photo: Bao Ky).

Ms. Da said that the day before, she ran a boat in Long Xuyen City (An Giang), but because of the lack of money, more than a decade ago, she and her family went to Phu Quoc to work.

“The profession of ferrying has been eaten with blood, so if I don’t do this job, I don’t know what to do now. Compared to running a boat on the river, running at sea is much more dangerous. Big waves, high winds, rough seas or rain. The sudden pouring of water is something that talented people like us have to face. But in exchange for this job for a stable income, I try to do it”, Ms. Da expressed. 

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The boat-running profession does not have a day off, the more guests, the “bumper”. On weekdays, Ms. Da earns about 300,000-500,000 VND, especially on holidays and Tet, she sometimes earns millions of VND. Her whole family of 4 people lives by running boats and going to the sea (Photo: Bao Ky).

According to the female ferry driver U50, there are many types of boating here. In the tourist season, most ferry drivers like her have to work overtime from early morning until late at night to finish work. Just brought guests to the island, and a customer called to pick them up. Even though she has no time to eat at work, she just wishes she could be as busy every day. 

“When there was a storm, the sea was rough and there were no visitors, I switched to carrying goods or carrying fishermen on rafts to the shore to go to the market and vice versa”, Ms. Da shared. 

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From An Thoi seaport, visitors will go to Hon Roi, and Hon Thom to visit, eat and experience many sports such as canoeing to fly over the sea. Boat rental fees range from 300,000 to 500,000 VND/way. Compared to renting a canoe or a cruise ship, it will be about 2-3 times cheaper (Photo: Bao Ky).

Lesser in age and profession than Ms. Da, female ferryman Nguyen Thi Hang (living in An Thoi ward) confided that the profession of running a ferry carrying tourists at An Thoi port helps her earn money to go in and out to help her husband.

Ms. Hang said that she worked as a housewife before, but since the Covid-19 epidemic, her economic life was difficult, so she ran a boat to earn more money to help her husband. For the past few months, due to the influence of storms and storms, Hang only earns about 300,000 VND per day. 

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Nguyen Thi Hang has been driving a boat at An Thoi port for more than a year (Photo: Bao Ky).

Running the boat outdoors continuously, there is no time to rest because of having to “catch customers”, but that is not the hardest thing that the female ferrymen have to go through. 

Ms. Hang said: “In the first days of running the boat, I was scared and extremely tired. Every time the small boat was hit by the waves, it wobbled, swayed, and had to stand firmly, clamping on the steering wheel of the machine.

The speed of the boat is not as fast as the canoe, so it takes 20 to 40 minutes to carry passengers out to the island. When I come home at night, my body is tired and sore, but I get used to it after working hard.” 

According to the female ferry drivers, in the past, the boat business was very good because there were few canoes and tourist boats. Most visitors take a boat to the island. At the peak of the profession, there were dozens of female talents working at the pier, but now there are more than 10 people attached. Most are middle-aged women, the youngest is also over 30 years old. 

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The wharf is quite empty on bad weather days (Photo: Bao Ky).

Mr. Pham Ha (fisherman living in An Thoi port) said that in addition to women, boating at An Thoi port, there are many men. Due to its dangerous nature, men often run boats to pick up passengers at night. Whether night or day, whether female or male, in the face of unexpected dangers from the sea, it must be brave people who dare to follow the profession and stick with it for so long.