Did You Know . . .
You can book a whale watching adventure, a golf vacation, and accommodations that will exceed your expectation. Simply choose when, where, and how and we'll do the rest!
Meet our Executive Team
President & Chief Operating Officer
Ryan Burles was named President and Chief Operating Officer of Black Ball Ferry Line in 2007. His career with the company spans more than 25 years and touches all areas of its operation.
Ryan first joined Black Ball Ferry Line in 1981, working the docks as a part-time Traffic Director while completing his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education at the University of Victoria.
After graduation, he joined the company’s Victoria management team as Assistant District Manager. 12 years later, Ryan was appointed District Manager with responsibility for overseeing operations at its Victoria terminal. Then in 2004, he was promoted to Vice President.
In 2007, with tourism traffic topping 400,000 passengers annually, Ryan was appointed President and CEO.
During his tenure with Black Ball Ferry Line, Ryan has helped guide the company through the successful expansion of fleet services, including enhancements to onboard amenities such as the addition of a passenger sundeck and viewing area, an expanded café and gift shop, and upgrades to the ship’s propulsion system.
Ryan is active at the community level in the company’s two homeports – Victoria, BC and Port Angeles, Washington. He is Vice-President and Director of the Victoria & Esquimalt Harbour Society, a member of Tourism Victoria’s Destination Marketing Committee, an active member of the Victoria and Port Angeles Chambers of Commerce, and represents the company on InterFerry, the international ferry association, and the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region, a regional U.S.-Canadian forum dedicated to encouraging global economic competitiveness and preserving our world-class natural environment.
Senior Vice President of Finance & Administration
David Booth joined Black Ball Ferry Line in September 1995. He is responsible for all financial and administrative operations, as well as the company’s on-line reservation system. David holds a degree in economics from the University of Washington.
Prior to joining Black Ball Ferry Line, David held senior financial management positions in the banking and tourism sectors.
Captain Steven J. Banfill
Captain - M.V. Coho
Captain Steven Banfill was born in Seattle in 1950 and grew up in Olalla Washington, in a house that overlooked the sea at West Passage – across from Vashon Island. As a young boy he had a close up view of 1950s commerce activities as he watched tugboats and ships sail through the passage. He learned small boat seamanship in his dad’s Poulsbo boat with its one cylinder Wisconsin engine and in his first rowboat, a dory.
In 1967, M.V. Coho’s third Captain, Bert Holmes, offered him a summer job aboard the vessel. There he was a sailor before the mast, where he learned marlinespike seamanship and deck maintenance from the M.V. Coho’s legendary Boatswain Cecil Harrison.
Captain Banfill graduated from South Kitsap high school in 1968 and from the University of Washington in 1972. In 1975 he attended Kildahl’s Nautical School, but he attributes his real education to his mentor and friend, Captain Ronald D. Lewis, who taught him the ancient art of ship handling. He has spent 14 years on the coast as First Mate with Captain Lewis and another 14 years as First Mate with Captain Fred Bock . Both were raconteurs who taught him the important oral histories of the maritime world, seaman ethics, traditions, and secrets.
Captain Elmer K. Grasser
Port Captain - M.V. Coho
Captain Grasser’s career with Black Ball Ferry Line began more than 25 years ago as a summer dockhand at the Port Angeles terminal. By the summer of 1984 he was working directly on the M.V. Coho, and in 2003 was promoted to Port Captain and Master.
As Port Captain with Black Ball Ferry Line, he oversees all aspects of ship orientation, new construction, equipment upgrades, ship maintenance, and passenger safety.
During the course of his early career working summers on the M.V. Coho, Captain Grasser attended Western Washington University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History. After college, with the intention of expanding his knowledge and experience within the maritime industry, he spent several years working on crude oil carriers operating out of Kuwait, transporting oil to many ports throughout the world.
The son of an “old school” Captain and commercial fisherman, Captain Grasser takes great pride in the experiences gained from spending many years working alongside his father and brother operating their own commercial fishing vessel in Bristol Bay Alaska. His exposure to life at sea was further enhanced by many years commercial crab fishing in the Bering Sea.
last updated: September 23, 2010