Her new rank as Captain of the Kool Kat Kelly was announced yesterday by David Shields, General Manager of Island Routes Tours. “We’re very proud to be able to announce that we have a woman captain amongst our Island Routes Specialist team. Captain Gifford is a true leader and a wonderful example of working to achieve your goals in life. On behalf of the entire company we congratulate her and we are pleased to be breaking new ground in the industry.”
Sydelle Gifford was born to the water, growing up on the beautiful beaches of Negril. Her father, Vincent, operated Honey’s Water Sports facility on Seven Mile Beach, and she spent all of her time there as a child when she wasn’t in school. In 1998, she went on to work at Beaches Negril in the water sports department and set her sights on becoming a boat captain; Sydelle took every opportunity to go out on the water with the catamarans and fishing boats from the resort. In June 2009, she began working with Island Routes Tours in the boating division. Her perseverance and studies paid off and she is now the company’s first female boat captain at the helm of the majestic 65ft catamaran, Kool Kat Kelly.
“It’s an absolute honor to have been named captain of the Kool Kat Kelly, it is something that I have always wanted and am grateful to know that I was able to meet the challenges and accomplish my childhood dream,” said Captain Gifford. “I also want to thank Island Routes for their confidence in me; I couldn’t have done it without the company’s support and the growth opportunities afforded the staff.”
Sydelle continued to say that she’s happy to be able to share her love of the water with the guests she meets each day and to show off her Negril – one of the most beautiful parts of Jamaica – from the dolphins that swim alongside the boat, the crystalline waters to the stunning cliffs and beaches. She also said she loves working with her vivacious crew members and wouldn’t give them up for the world.
When not on the water, Gifford spends time with her two children, one of which has Down’s syndrome. This has taught her to deal with life’s challenges and as a member of the Jamaica Down’s Syndrome Association she has been able to assist other parents. Sydelle has a Coxswain License which involves both theory and practical training, she also holds certificates in Lifeguarding and Rescue Training, Her aim is to continue studying in order to improve her boating skills and knowledge.
For more information about Island Routes Caribbean Adventure Tours or to make a reservation contact your favorite travel provider, an Island Specialist toll free at 1-877-768-8370 from the U.S. and Canada or visit www.islandroutestours.com.