Steve Hicks, Skipper Seahorse


Steve comes from a long line of boatmen: his father, his grandfather and his great-grandfather before that. His brothers, Alec and Fraser are boatmen, too. “In fact, the Hicks family name on Scilly goes back some 500 years. My father was a boat builder on Scilly and one of the founding members of the St. Mary’s Boatmen’s Association.

“Scilly is a wonderful place; I feel a very strong attachment and have never wanted to leave. I was born and brought up here, but I had to leave at 11 years old – back then there was no secondary school on the islands – and then I headed into the Merchant Navy including a spell on North Sea supply ships. I met Oriel at a Town Hall dance on St. Mary’s – I’ve avoided dancing ever since! We married in 1979 and, eventually, we were able to settle back on the islands when we bought a house here 10 years later. And I’ve been boating ever since. I joined the Lifeboat Service in 1993, and I still remain heavily involved with the RNLI.  In 1995, I joined the Boatmen’s Association, skippering the Seahorse and in 2002, I became a pilot for big ships coming into Scilly.

“I’ve had a charmed life: messing about on boats, building bits and bobs for them in my shed, doing a spot of drawing and watercolours, and forming lifelong friendships on the sea. I’ve never had the feeling of needing to get off Scilly; two weeks away from these islands at any one time is too much time away for me.”