DRAWN BY THE SEA
Keith W. Battersbee is the youngest of seven children born to Basil Winfield Battersbee and Agnes Amelia Battersbee (Nee Wilson. He is the proud descendent of Stanley and Ada Battersbee and William Francis Wilson 2nd. and Agnes Louise Wilson (Nee Smith). He was raised in the Cox’s Hill Pembroke West area, and in his earlier years attended the Northlands Primary School and later the St. George’s Secondary High School. He was a member of the St. Alban’s Sea Scouts under Robert (Rob) Kennedy and Teddy Brangman who himself was a stanch member of the St. Paul A.M.E. church and served on the Senior Usher Board. In 1957 Keith began his Maritime Career by working at the Sherwood Manor Hotel Marina renting and servicing a fleet of power and sail boats. Keith always had a passion for the sea and during his days off, he often accompanied Pilot Walter H. Darrell and other fishermen in the area during fishing trips on their boats.
In 1960 at age 20 years as his passion grew stronger he obtained a position at the Bermuda Government Board of Trade Department. In May 1993 he was selected by Mr. Stanley Gascoigne and Hon. John Patton to travel to the United Kingdom in order to attend special training courses in Tugs and Towing Operations. As a result of this selection, he became the first black Bermudian to be chosen for overseas training by the Board of Trade Department. He received training with R & JH Rea Towing Co. Ltd. in Milford Haven in Wales, the Isle of Wright and South of England Steam Packet Co. in Southampton England, and Ship Towage London Ltd. In Gravesend on the River Thames in London. He trained aboard some of the Oldest as well as the most modern Tugs being operated in Europe during that time. Keith had the privilege of being involved in every aspect of towing and tug operations in various Ports of the United Kingdom and offshore assignments as far away as the Hook of Holland.
On completing his training he returned to Bermuda and was given command of the Tugs H.M.S. Justice an old British Navy World War 2 Tug. He was the youngest person to Captain and have command of a vessel the Classic 2. He became involved in several towing and tug assignments and then studied and became Junior Branch Pilot in August 1965, and moved on to Branch Pilot in 1989. Upon the retirement of Pilot John Kennedy he was appointed Pilot Warden/ Harbourmaster of the Bermuda Branch Pilot services. In 2004, he became the first Black Bermudian Pilot Warden to be appointed as the Acting Director of the Department of Marine and Ports services. Under his watch, the Department of Marine and Ports services introduced the Cadet Training Module with focus on training at a UK based facility. In 2005 Keith retired from his position as Pilot Warden/ Harbourmaster after serving in the capacity for 16 years and a total of 45 years with the Department.