Against The Tide

Katy, North Ireland

May 15, 2017
Only one of the three ship’s I’ve sailed on so far as a cadet has had a female changing room. Other ship’s I’ve had to use my cabin, making it harder to clean or a spare cabin without any washing facilities for my boilersuit or my hands etc.
Other small things have just been kind of light-hearted sexist comments or jokes that really just seem to be the norm these days so it really doesn’t bother me unless it’s anything serious which I’ve not had a huge experience of.
It’s hard being the only female on ship sometimes, but in ways I actually really enjoy the merchant navy being a male dominated industry as it seems to make the female community a lot more close-knit and we seem to make friends easier.
I’m the only female on ship at the moment and it’s the first time I’ve really not been afraid to be feminine wearing make up or painting my nails etc. in my free time and it actually makes me feel really good! Before now I used to be afraid of the guys asking why I would bother with it or maybe thinking I was trying to impress them but honestly just being yourself can make you feel so much better if you’re missing home or feeling down at any point πŸ˜‡
In any way my company and the rest of the seafaring industry seems extremely open and welcoming to female seafarers and I’ve not had too many problems! I feel like I fit in and I’ve had some amazing times onboard and I’ve never been so happy in my life!
The things I would like to change is certainly the fitting of boilersuits, harnesses, lifejackets, even things like EEBDs and fire suits to be more suited to a females body shape! Sometimes I feel so uncomfortable in certain things when the guys just seem to get on with it like normal.
And the other thing is to have more female changing areas on ships so we don’t have to be shoved into any old empty cabin to change or wash our work clothes.
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It is just over a year since I joined my first ship as a cadet with my company, however I’ve been ‘working’ of sorts within the industry and with boats for around 5/6 years now. My interest kicked off when I joined @SeaCadetsUK 5/6 years ago and began sailing small dinghies and their offshore vessels. I started sailing on Tall Ship’s more in my free time and I just kind of decided the only place I could see myself happily working was at sea. I’ve never looked back.
I’m a British Deck Cadet. I work on tankers – product, crude and gas.
My name is Katy and I’m from Northern Ireland.
I study at college in Fleetwood in North West England.

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