Against The Tide

Alex Coombs, Australia

March 2, 2022

In my position as a deck cadet, every single day is so different. One day could be chipping and painting and the next tank entries and inspections. As the Deck Cadet onboard I feel like you have no specific job responsibility rather just being of assistance as much as possible to the Chief Mate. My typical day at sea is working 4 hours on deck under the Bosuns guidance and 4 hours on a navigation watch and of course there are tie ups and pilots outside those hours, which I am expected to take part in.

My favourite part of the job is being on the ocean and the amazing sunsets and sunrises. I also love meeting so many awesome people!!

I knew entering the industry that it is absolutely male dominated and sure there is gender discrimination, there is no question about that, it is everywhere. Women still have a lot of work to put in and the best way to change that is to have more females in the industry. For me personally, I just don’t take the comments and the actions to heart, as long as you are fulfilling your job to your absolute best potential there is no need to worry about someone else’s opinion.

I advocate for work and for there to be a minimum of 2 women onboard at any one time. Being the only female onboard can become very lonely and isolating. Having that one other female makes a world of difference.

My advice to other female seafarers is to be strong and don’t ever think you know everything. Be patient and listen to everyone’s advice, you yourself will know what advice works and what will work best for you.

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