As with almost all of his generation Captain Sawyer first went to sea in sail, as a 2nd mate on a Cape Horn voyage he earned the magnificent salary of £5 a month.
Before joining the South African Railways & Harbours Administration Captain Sawyer saw service with the Silverton Telegraph Company then with the Union Line.
He joined the Administration in 1902, completing 31 years service on his retirement as Port Captain, Table Bay Harbour in April 1933.
Captain Sawyer in his time with the Administration saw service as Harbour Master, Mossel Bay (1919), then to Port Elizabeth when ships anchored off and worked cargo from lighters as did they at Mossel Bay.
(information from 'A Century of South African Steam Tugs' by David Reynolds)