Jack went to sea as an ordinary seaman on leaving school. He progressed to Captain and Pilot (Humber) before leaving after 35 years to take up the post as Berthing Assistant, then Lock Master at Goole Docks.
During his 35 years at sea, he mainly sailed on local ships, for companies such as E.P. Atkinson and Craggs and Jenkins. His ships included Yokefleet, Rosefleet and Hesslingate, etc.
After gaining his Mates and Masters tickets, he then went on to take his Pilot's Licence for both ends of the Humber and Ouse, enabling him to navigate the Humber and Ouse without a Pilot on both companies' vessels.