Against The Tide

Harriet Ngoka, Kenya.

October 16, 2020

I enjoy navigating the biggest ferries across the channel while enjoying the sea breeze, my day to day includes navigating the ferries safely and efficiently across the channel and ensuring the safety of passengers, vehicles and equipment. I also communicate and respond to calls from Kenya ports Authority control tower and among other stations, on the movement of inbound and outbound vessels

Engine failure of the ferries which means you have to work under high pressure while navigating considering all factors like winds, tides making the shifts more tedious. Doubt from people and proving my competency- every time the ferries develop a mechanical problem and seem to have a delay in operation I have to absorb the mockery and harsh words from passengers on board and they always question my capabilities as a trainee.

Problem of acceptance- It took time for people to accept and consider me as one of the Future Coxswain since I am a female trainee and they are used to male coxswains. Most times I have been pushed to prove my worth but I decided to work harder like my male colleagues and participate actively in everything not to doubt me. Lack of Privacy; As women, we need privacy at some point. Most ferries have one toilet each and there are no rooms specifically for ladies that means we share everything with the men colleagues while onboard. At first, I found it very hard but with time I had to accept it.

Offering training and skills for women to rise to the leadership positions in the maritime industry since not only do we need women in the maritime industry but also leadership in the maritime industry. Empowering the young women in maritime(right from when they’re in campus and college) so that they don’t shift to other careers once they graduate, linking them up to opportunities if possible to inspire other women out there since most of them think there are no jobs for women in the maritime industry.

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