Capt. Jack Evans looks back on CRD career

Vintage R/V Anna photo

Coastal Resources Division 

As 2024 begins, Coastline magazine and CRD are taking a look back at some of the folks who served the state before our time. In this edition, we speak with Capt. Jack Evans, who retired in 2006 after working aboard CRD’s Research Vessel Anna for nearly three decades. In the 1982 edition of Coastlines, it names Evans as the Anna’s First Mate, and notes his “mutual respect” with then Capt. Leonard Reddick. Evans was gracious enough to answer a few of our questions about his time at CRD and retirement.

Coastlines: When did you start working at CRD and when did you retire from the agency?

Jack Evans, L, and Rusty Flournoy
Jack Evans, L, and Rusty Flournoy

Jack Evans: I started working there in about 1974, and became full time in 1975 or ’76. I retired in ’06, and for the last 20 years, I was captain of the (Research Vessel) Anna. I was pretty much the captain of the Anna the whole time, but I was also captain of the Cobia for two years before I became captain of the Anna. I was the third captain of the Anna, after Doc Jones and Leonard Reddick. 

CL: Looking back, what did you like most about your career with CRD and DNR?

JE: I got paid to catch fish and shrimp. And we had a really good big group of people, you know? But it’s it was a magical thing working on a boat like that, I mean, ‘cause the Anna was a coastal icon. We took out so many people -- educational, political, you know. We’d take out people that finance us, so we got to meet them-- a lot of dignitaries and politicians and that kind of thing. We met a lot of nice people and I never did mind doing the public relations work. I always like that stuff.

CL: What surprised you the most when you transitioned to retirement? 

JE: Well, I kind of anticipated it. I had hobbies, and first thing I did is went out and bought me a 20-foot boat. Because I wasn’t working on a boat anymore—I had to have a boat. I was living on the Riverside (Drive in Brunswick) and I had a dock, so I had a place to put the boat. Now living in McIntosh (County), and I have deep water in front of my house and a dock, a boat, all that. I played in the band for about 25 years, but that’s kind of faded out now. I had a couple of part time things going on, so I didn’t ever get bored.

CL: If you could go back in time and change something about your career, what would you change, if anything? 

JE: They could pay me more money! [Laughter] Who won’t say that? No, I really couldn’t tell you. For the amount of education I had, and doing what I wanted to do—I thought I wanted to be a biologist at one point, but I realized I wanted to be a boat captain. So that’s what worked out for me. I have no complaints. Absolutely none, really. I was very blessed, very blessed.

CL: What’s one of the biggest lessons you learned about life and work during your time with DNR? 

JE: One thing that I did learn was how to treat people. You know, to be firm and stern. You gotta be the captain sometimes, you know. Everybody wants to be a captain until it’s time to do Captain stuff. It’s important to know you can be firm, but you can still be kind. If you’re spending two or three days on a boat with someone, you gotta’ get along.

CL: What advice would you give to somebody that’s getting ready to retire?

JE: Get some hobbies and do some community service. I’ve been doing it since I retired. I’ve been leading the team from our church, The Chapel, at Manna House (a food pantry) once a month for 18 years now. So since ‘06 that’s one thing I started doing. Go out and do something for somebody else. I also like to go hunting, and see my grandkids. If you have to, get a part time job.