I have been a customer assistant for 1 year and a student for 3 years, hoping to work at sea soon.
As I was only onboard for 10 days for work experience, I didn’t really have any responsibilities. My day would consist of learning, learning new things in the engine room and learning new things in the bridge. Although I was given permission to sail the vessel when we were half way through our voyage.
I loved just being out at sea for 10 days, and always learning something new along with the support of the deck and engine teams
Although I had a lot of support from both the deck and engine crews, something was said to me that I sadly won’t forget. When I was in the bridge, the Captain turns to me and goes “So Steph, what department would you like to work in at sea?” And I answer saying “I was definitely like to be in the deck team, I hope to be a Captain myself one day” and one of the male officers (2nd officer I believe) walked passed me and goes “Maybe you should consider aiming a little lower than that” whether he meant it as a joke or he was serious I’m not sure but it sticks in my mind and I think about it every now and then and I wonder if he’s right. I know I can do it and so I try to forget what he said but it still in the back of my mind sadly. I’ve also had people (even females!) laugh in my face when I tell them I want to work at sea and be a Captain and it really does bring me down but I’ve learnt to just take no notice of them and carry on with trying to achieve my dream.
One thing I would advocate for female seafarers is for them to be more accepted and respected in this industry. We are able to do the same job as men, get to the top ranks and sometimes do a better job than men but not everyone sees that.
My advice would be to never give up! You can do it and you will get your dream job. Be confident and go for it!