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This is the first in a two-part series celebrating women chasing their dreams from sea to sky in honor of Women's History Month. The second installment features women taking flight in aviation careers.
To celebrate Women’s History Month, the Port of Seattle caught up with four Pacific Northwest-based women making a splash in the maritime industry and sharing it all on their social media channels. We are looking ahead at women with a bright future in the industry. With enviable photos documenting their worldwide adventures on the job, these women offer a glimpse of where a career in maritime can take you. Keep reading (and give them a follow) to learn about their journeys, what they love about their jobs and industries, and their advice to other women looking to make the jump.
I am a commercial and lifestyle photographer in the commercial fishing industry. My journey with commercial fishing started in 2015 when I moved to Dutch Harbor, Alaska and has evolved into this amazing career where I get to share this unique industry through visual storytelling.
I started working on boats in 2017 as a deckhand on a tender during the Bristol Bay salmon season. I happened to have a camera with me and fell in love with photographing fishermen. My work as a deckhand was short-lived and I became known as a photographer in the industry after that. My experience working on boats is what helped me along the way though because I was a trusted friend to the industry and someone fishermen could relate to behind the camera. I have been so lucky to have the access I do to different fisheries and coastal communities.
The maritime industry employs some of the most hardworking and humble individuals. I am always inspired by the dedication to conservation, the respect for the harvest, and the unique relationship to the water everyone seems to have. Something about that salty air brings a deep connection to the ocean.
For young women interested in the maritime industry, there are so many ways the water can take you. Be open to every opportunity and maintain strong relationships.
I am a professional big mountain skier, commercial fisherman, and captain of the F/V Atlantis.
I grew up on my father’s fishing boat, F/V Atlantis, purse seining for salmon in Alaska and sardines off of the coast of Washington. I have fished my entire life. In 2017, I took the helm of the Atlantis and have been running the operation since, fishing for salmon in Southeast, Alaska. Fishing and family go hand in hand. My sister, Dylan, is my first mate; we keep the operation running together.
After spending over 30 years on a boat (six as captain) I am continuously surprised by how much more there is to learn. My mind is always engaged. I don’t think fishing will ever become monotonous work and that is what I love about it.
Working in maritime is a beautiful way to make a living. The work is engaging and challenging, and there is always something new to learn. Being on the ocean is empowering in a way that leads to independence and self-confidence, giving you tools that you can use in all aspects of life. If you are the type of woman who enjoys hard work in an exciting environment, I recommend looking into the maritime industry.
I am a Safety Officer working on cruise ships which means I am third in command and responsible for the emergency preparedness of the ship, all the firefighting and lifesaving safety equipment, and anything else to do with safety onboard.
I started working on cruise ships in 2016 with Celebrity Cruises and have remained with them ever since. They gave me the opportunity to come and work for them as a newly qualified officer of the watch having just finished my three-year cadetship. It was then a combination of gaining experience on board and then returning to Maritime school to obtain my Chief Mate License, and after that, my Captains’ License, which allowed my promotions through third, second, first, chief, and now Safety Officer.
To this day I am surprised by the size and extent of the maritime industry. In addition to the 80,000 merchant ships on the water who all require crew, there are millions of people that work for the industry whether directly or indirectly — from those working for the ports, to the supply of the ships, logistics, insurance, law, training, etc. It really blows me away.
I would say exactly the same to any young woman as I would to a young man, because gender does not define your ability to pursue a seagoing career. Research well, ask questions, understand what is involved and be honest with yourself as to whether you are able to deal with the negatives of the job — long times away from home, potential sea sickness, long hours, etc. If you are, then I can guarantee the positives far outweigh the negatives — travel the world, gain responsibility from a young age, earn high salaries, and perform rewarding work with clear routes of progression, to mention only a few!
I love traveling by sailboat and using wind to explore the world. I worked as a biologist and then as a project manager in vaccine development while also learning how to do all of my own sailboat repairs. After years of saving up money I had the funds to untie the lines for a few years of adventuring.
I’ve wanted to sail since I was a child, but getting to where I am now was a long road. I’m from a small town near the Great Lakes and Finger Lakes of New York, and I often saw sailboats out on the water. No one in my family sailed or had any interest in it. I had one friend who told me about how you could live on a sailboat and travel, and I think that’s when the seed was planted. It seemed like an inaccessible activity with an entry cost I could not afford. In college I met a friend whose family had a Lightning sailboat and we went sailing each time I came to visit. Pulling away from the dock by sail felt like magic; I was hooked.
When I found myself in Seattle in 2010, I found a whole sailing community in addition to folks that had circumnavigated the globe by sailboat. I learned that sailing could be accessible to me after all. In 2017, I started looking for sailboats to buy and available moorage. Everything fell into place quickly after that. In 2019, I had a sailboat and a slip!
The sailing cruising community is incredible and global! The female cruising community is wonderful and welcoming too! People want to help and they look out for each other. I was surprised to learn that this isn’t just a Seattle community; it’s a global community. You can be anywhere and sailors will come together to help each other.
Go for it! Taking a sailing class will teach you the basics about sailing and introduce you to other people interested in sailing. Talk to people and ask questions. Join the sailboat racing groups. They ALWAYS seem to need crew. Attend community events like slide shows and fundraisers. Don’t give up and get some affordable foulies, comfy boots, and gloves!
Want more stories of inspiring women working in the maritime industry? Learn about five inspiring female entrepreneurs from Maritime Blue's Maritime Innovation Accelerator program.
The Port of Seattle is celebrating Womenâs History Month by recognizing and honoring women who are leading and innovating in traditionally male-dominated industries. According to the Internationa...
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