Against The Tide

Emily Gyllenspetz, Gothenburg, Sweden

March 2, 2022

On a day when I work on deck it entails making the ship ready for departure (it’s a ferry), counting passengers, making sure they get on and off safely, keeping the ship clean and always be ready if anything happens. A day as first mate I get to drive the ferry to the different islands in the archipelago and be a part of the 3 man crew that makes sure everything works and that we do it safely.

My favorite part of the job is that I love to drive. There is no better feeling than steering the ship when it is at high speed. This takes a lot of practice and you can always improve your skills. But that is what I like, that every day you get to work on your skill and yourself.

I am lucky, I have been spared on any gender based challenges besides some stupid comments. I feel like the smaller ferry companies are a bit more modern than some other bigger companies. But you just got to stand your ground. If anyone tells you you can’t do something or so, make it very clear to them that they are the one doing something wrong.

One thing I would advocate would be that women on board would be more normalized. Sometimes when you say that you work as a first mate people ( men ) get very fascinated as if it was something rare. Sure we women only make up 30% of the world’s seafarers but that is a lot of women. I actually started a company named seasalt and coffee to try to change it and create a realistic modern representation of us.

My advice to other female seafarers is don’t take any shit from anyone, write a list of comebacks to tell people who make you feel uncomfortable or smaller. You got this ❤️

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