All at Sea - The Navigator Issue 30

01 Jun 2022 The Navigator

To mark the first year for this important event, female members of The Nautical Institute’s Younger Members’ Council have described aspects of their life at sea. To read their whole contributions, check out May’s edition of Seaways.

International Day for Women in Maritime
Joining my first vessel as an officer, I couldn’t help but think to myself, will my peers accept me? Even in these progressive times you may join a vessel and be the sole female onboard. More often than not, you may even be the first female seafarer your colleagues have worked with. It’s human to feel out of place and even isolated when you start sailing. It will take a lot of strength to hold your own space on a team of men. As you gain more knowledge and experience, you will overcome this.
Don’t be consumed by the need to prove you are equal to your counterparts. Never doubt your competency and continue to fulfil your duties; they will recognise your efforts.
Sabeena Poonwassie MNI

Nothing says, ‘Welcome aboard! You belong here!’ quite like walking up the gangway of a new ship and being issued PPE and safety equipment that fits you. As shipping companies work to become more inclusive and create a more diverse work force on board, this element is left out of the discussion. Often times, if you fall outside of the normal 6ft, 200lbs size range of American mariners, you are not supplied with gear to fit you. You come aboard and must ‘make it work’.

One size fits all, fits no one, and yet this is the safety equipment standard throughout the industry. Give all workers the tools they need for success – and diversity is the result. True acceptance is achievable for our industry, but it begins with being issued the proper gear from the start.
Lt. Emily Bull MNI

Gender inequality in the maritime sector has received increasing attention since 1989, when IMO first introduced a strategy to increase opportunities for women in the maritime sector. Beginning in 2003, associations took concrete steps to actively promote the participation of women in the maritime and port sector, and efforts to address the issue were actually launched. These efforts included the creation of several key entities, such as Women in Maritime Caribbean (WiMAC). The Women in Shipping and Trading Association, (WISTA) founded as far back as 1974, has also played a leading role.

Despite many years of change, efforts are still required to address the factors that deter women from finding employment in greater numbers in the maritime and port security sector, both offshore and on land.
Nitzeira Watson AMNI

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