As a 2nd Engineer I am responsible for Fuel transfers, Purifiers, Steam System, Burning trash/waste oil, and maintenance assigned by the 1st engineer.What I love most about my job is that no day is the same day twice, and you learn something new everyday. Also getting to see the world and meet new people is a bonus as well.
I have faced a few challenges working at sea. There have been a few instances where my supervisors treated me completely differently than the other engineers. To them I was not seen as an equal and it showed. I did my best to push it aside and get my job done to above and beyond what they wanted. I am not a woman who sits by quietly while I am getting treated poorly. There were many conversations that happened between me and them, but also our senior officers.
I work in a union so there really isn’t much difference between pay and responsibilities when it comes down to who is working the job. But I really want to see a change in the supplies on board for women. Very rarely are there uniforms or PPE that fit me, or any Women. I would also like to try and push to have Feminine Hygiene Products included in the ship’s hospital. They have them in most slop chests but they are super expensive and bad quality.
My advice to other female seafarers is to keep your head up, and find people you can lean on and talk to. I would not have made it to where I am now without an iron will to want it. You’ll have to push through stigmas along the way, but don’t let that stop you. Also having people you can talk to, whether on board or through social media, is huge. I communicate with friends throughout my whole trip to keep me mentally stable. Sometimes you need to vent to someone off the ship to get a better understanding of what to do going forward.
Emma Crandall, USA