Recruiting and retaining women seafarers - Ships Nostalgia
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Recruiting and retaining women seafarers

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  #1  
Old 28th May 2009, 14:33
Cap'n Pete Cap'n Pete is offline  
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Recruiting and retaining women seafarers

I would be interested in SN members views on what can be done to recruit more females as seafarers, and retain the few we do have.

In my 43 career as a seafarer, I have only ever sailed with 3 female deck officers and 2 female messmen. My shipping company only has 2 female officers out of 850. In the shipping industry as a whole, less than 2% of seafarers are female, and most of those are involved in hotel trades or as entertainers (eg dancers on cruise liners).

Personally, I would like to see a lot more women at sea, but I doubt if it will happen in my lifetime. I think it is more likely that we'll have another woman prime minister before we have a woman become captain of a British-flag container ship.
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  #2  
Old 28th May 2009, 14:41
iain mac iain mac is offline
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maersk allready have female masters maybe not on the british flagged side but certainly under the danish side.
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  #3  
Old 28th May 2009, 14:51
trotterdotpom trotterdotpom is offline  
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From other posts on the site, I've been getting the impression that shipping is now a Third World industry. Without wishing to be facetious, I'd say (sadly) most of the likely candidates are flat out, bashing their husband's shirts on a rock down at the local creek - they wouldn't know a washing machine from a GPS. Where are you going to get them from?

John T.

PS I can't talk, a few weeks ago I was thinking of upgrading my VCR to a DVD player - I ran out of the shop when the assistant started talking about Blue Rayguns or something!
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  #4  
Old 28th May 2009, 14:54
Cap'n Pete Cap'n Pete is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iain mac View Post
maersk allready have female masters maybe not on the british flagged side but certainly under the danish side.
You are right Ian; I too saw the photograph of her standing next to a new launching. Never saw her again though. Still, that was a positive sign.

Fairplay profiled a female captain recently; however, she did just a week in command before going ashore into the office.

I would like to see females become "real" captains and chief engineers. Not trotted out by shipping companies for the benefit of the media on special occasions.
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  #5  
Old 28th May 2009, 14:59
ROBERT HENDERSON ROBERT HENDERSON is offline  
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Watching Blue Peter (I am still a child at heart) last night Condor ferries HSS from Jersey to Portsmouth had a female Master.

Regards Robert
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  #6  
Old 28th May 2009, 15:05
trotterdotpom trotterdotpom is offline  
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Originally Posted by ROBERT HENDERSON View Post
Watching Blue Peter (I am still a child at heart) last night Condor ferries HSS from Jersey to Portsmouth had a female Master.

Regards Robert
Is that why it takes 20 hours to get there and costs a fortune? I'm going to Jersey in a few weeks time - from Stansted for peanuts. I'd have preferred the ferry but they've become ridiculous.

John T.

PS Now that I'm in my second childhood, do I get another shot at a Blue Peter Badge or has Blue Peter gone hi-tech too?
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  #7  
Old 28th May 2009, 15:46
JoK JoK is offline  
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I see everyone has taken the topic seriously.

You want woman as your officers, then hire them, train them and support them.
Realize that the woman may have a family or want to have a family. A lot of the woman I know that have left the marine industry, left because they are screwed over by crewing so badly.

Stop the sexist bullshit in your system that says woman can't do the work because of Blah, blah, blah.
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  #8  
Old 28th May 2009, 16:58
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Nick Balls Nick Balls is offline  
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Well I was lucky to help train many deck officers over the years.
Some have been female and without exception I can say what a pleasure it was to at last to see all this happen. Lots of people have a go at trying the seagoing life. Many give up . From experience I can't really tell if more males than females fail to make the grade. Without doubt it can be more difficult if you are the only girl on the boat ! But with only one exception I can never recall it being a problem , quite the reverse in fact. As for being "real" that is clearly a question of treating everybody equally. The female deck cadets I helped train were not treated any different from anybody else. They were hard working , hard playing members of the crew. simple as that.
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  #9  
Old 28th May 2009, 19:19
Klaatu83 Klaatu83 is offline  
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I've never sailed with a woman captain, but I have sailed with a good number of women, both licensed and unlicensed. Most were reasonably competent, a few were no good, and a few were exceptionally able. The same could be said for the men.

In my experience, I think that the main problem with employing women at sea is the living conditions. In the 1970s, when they first began appearing on our ships, many of our ships were left over from World War II. Those old ships had no provision for women. Not only were the heads communal, but the berthing spaces were often three-to-a-room as well. Even the officers' staterooms had adjoining heads.

In addition, those old ships had no telephone or watch-call systems. A member of the duty watch used to knock on doors to call the relief watch, and used to look in to make sure they were awake. needless to say, that sort of thing didn't go down well with the ladies.

However, it's all different now. On all the new ships everybody has their own private stateroom and head. Every stateroom also has a telephone, so the watch can be called by phone from the bridge.
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  #10  
Old 29th May 2009, 08:46
Cap'n Pete Cap'n Pete is offline  
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What I trying to achieve, is a debate on what can be done to encourage women to go to sea and to retain those we have.

I do not have any issues with the competence of women, etc. In my experience, there is little difference in the abilities of the few I've sailed with compared with men.

Do any SN members have any suggestions?

Last edited by Cap'n Pete : 29th May 2009 at 08:49.
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  #11  
Old 29th May 2009, 09:08
JoK JoK is offline  
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Are you serious, can you put changes in place or do you just want a debate?
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  #12  
Old 29th May 2009, 09:13
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2006 BIMCO Article

31 July 2006 -

The truth is that shipping was indeed once a man’s world, but as an industry it is no different from many others in this respect, and along with society itself, is becoming much more inclusive. And if gatherings of shipping people seem to remain overwhelmingly male, it is worth considering the age of those gathered. As age is reduced, the proportion of women who will be present in the workplace is increased. And in this, shipping is merely typical of any modern industry.
It is fair to note that women seafarers remain in a distinct minority, although here too numbers of women are increasing as they find the sea career and modern, sophisticated ships, interesting. The sea itself, travel and considerable responsibilities at a young age attract modern women, just as they do men, while the job is less physical and arguably cleaner than it was in an earlier age. Some women have advanced to senior ranks, although children and families tend to persuade them ashore, just like their male counterparts. It is significant to note than ferry companies are considered to be “family friendly”, and increasingly employ women, while deep sea operations naturally tend to be less attractive to women who have family responsibilities.
But it is in the shore side of shipping that women are increasingly making an impact, with any intelligently managed company unwilling to deny itself the benefits of recruiting from 50% of the population. In any forward-thinking company, policies of equal opportunities have long opened the doors to women, who see their career opportunities expanding throughout the industry. In this they are assisted by WISTA, (Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association) which is a useful networking organisation with branches in most international shipping centres.
If there is still a relatively small number of women in shipping compared to some industries, it is perhaps because shipping and indeed transport has not been sufficiently “sold” to girls as an attractive career option. Occupations tend to be branded as more suitable for one sex than the other, and maritime transport, traditionally run by men, has remained below the horizons of those who advise girls on their career options.
So it is worth considering how the industry can more effectively reach bright young women looking for a rewarding and interesting career, very different to those stereotypical women’s jobs. Shipping has a great deal going for it in terms of its growth potential. It is an essential, worthwhile industry, international in scope and nature, its professional qualifications multi-national, while it is a “people” industry, to which the qualities of women are admirably suited.
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  #13  
Old 29th May 2009, 09:15
Cap'n Pete Cap'n Pete is offline  
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Originally Posted by JoK View Post
Are you serious, can you put changes in place or do you just want a debate?
Of course I can make changes. Without wishing to blow my own trumpet, I've given evidence before the Parlimentary Maritime Committee in the UK, and I've been published in a number of maritime journals on a regular basis. Each and everyone of us has the power to make changes if we strongly believe in what we are doing.

Last voyage I had a very able female second mate who refused promotion on the grounds that that the chief officers hours were excessive. I was very disappointed because I felt that here was a lost opportunity.

If we all stand back and say there is nothing we can do, then nothing will be done!
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  #14  
Old 29th May 2009, 09:15
JoK JoK is offline  
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2006 Incat Article

Incat Puts Out Call for Woman

INCAT boss Robert Clifford has sent out a plea to all women: roll up your sleeves and join the crew.
The leading shipbuilder is on an aggressive recruitment drive and hopes women may be the answer to the nation's
manufacturing skills shortage. The company will even consider family-friendly hours in a bid to lure more females on
to its workfloor.
"We would be very happy to have more women because there is an imbalance at the moment," Mr Clifford said.
At present the ratio of men to women in the shipbuilding crew is 300 to 1, with only a sole woman involved in the
hands-on work. But Mr Clifford wants more -- lots -- as the company enters its expansion phase and tries to double
total workforce from about 400 to 800.
"Women could be the answer," Mr Clifford said. "I would even look at tailoring the work to suit their family needs,
offering 9am to 3pm hours." Last week Incat announced a new sale to a Spanish customer, and more deals
are in the pipeline.
But Incat is having trouble finding the extra staff to meet future orders. The company is looking interstate and even
putting a call out to retirees who might be interested in returning to work.
The company is seeking a range of skills, including welding, fabrication and fitting. Mr Clifford said women could be
perfect solution. "In other parts of the world, places like Russia and Poland, it's perfectly normal to have an equal
number of men and women in this environment," he said.
"I think it would be a big advantage for us to have a closer to equal ratio." Mr Clifford said women had "nothing to
fear" from the predominantly male workforce. He said the work was not physically challenging, with strict limits on
weights which both men and women were allowed to lift. While Incat has many women in its Derwent Park office,
there is only one female on its workfloor -- Deirdre Smith. Miss Smith operates a plasma cutter, which is a
computerised machine that cuts through steel plates.
When she started with Incat 11 years ago, Miss Smith recalled, she was a little nervous, but her fears soon subsided.
"I wasn't worried about all the men so much as the work," she said. But she has mastered her role and, in the words
of Mr Clifford "is as good as any bloke". Miss Smith said she imagined other women were probably intimidated by the
idea of working with so many men.
But she said those fears were unnecessary. "I feel like part of the family now -- they all treat me as an equal."
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  #15  
Old 29th May 2009, 09:20
JoK JoK is offline  
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I just posted two articles because both of them are very applicable and have some interesting points.

Most woman I know that go ashore, do so because of family issues. They tend to marry other seafarers which then becomes an issue. They either get out of it all together or end up in shore positions.

I will be quite blunt. 3/4 of my hassles come from older men, who seemed to think that because you have breasts, your IQ is diminished accordingly.

I will give it some thought. I have been almost 13 years ashore and it has been 20 years since I was FG though. And it will be Canadian flavoured,

Last edited by JoK : 29th May 2009 at 09:43.
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  #16  
Old 23rd June 2009, 09:03
willhastie willhastie is offline  
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Talking it can work

think it was on the disco bay about 1979 and the company sent 2 females one deck (linda turner) and one e/r(dont remember) they gave each other support in an all male enviroment,but i do recall a lot of blokes going from one shave a week to each day,and going on watch in clean gear,their being there did make a difference for the better.
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  #17  
Old 23rd June 2009, 18:47
Bill Davies Bill Davies is offline  
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In 50 years at sea I only experienced a handful of women onboard and they were all wives of either a Chief Mate or Ch.Engineer and in each case from Far East and as such you would not know they were on board. One wife was a GP from Japan which was handy as we had two incidents that required her skills.
I have to say that I have heard some terrible tales from Masters in British companies which promoted wives accompaniying their husbands. If we extend that into the workplace I would say you have a recipe for disaster.
I am sure that they can do the job well, as none of it is particularly difficult but men being men. I have my reservations.

Bill
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  #18  
Old 23rd June 2009, 18:54
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Satanic Mechanic Satanic Mechanic is online now  
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The problem is not females it is recruiting and retention of anyone at all. Ask any of the companies and you will get the same reply - 'There are just not enough people wanting to go to sea period'

As for Females in particular , why make them any different - if they want to go to sea they will go - if they want to stay they will stay.
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  #19  
Old 23rd June 2009, 19:55
MARINEJOCKY MARINEJOCKY is offline  
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I sailed with female deck cadets and a 3rd officer and have no problem with women working on ships however I think that unless things have changed drastically they are just not strong enough to do everything that is asked of a man.

That also applies to wimpy little guys as well, maybe those type of guys and the women could be great sitting watching computer monitors and adjusting remotely controlled equipment but I do not think they are capable of turning too hour after hour changing liners or main bearings or flogging up cylinder heads.

Maybe the women I would like to see onboard ships are incapable of the work but I am sure there are some big old D-kes out there that would love to kick my butt and show me they could do the work but I doubt it.
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  #20  
Old 24th June 2009, 03:42
JoK JoK is offline  
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Well I did it and I am not a dyke and I will tell you that if I couldn't manage something, a lot of men couldn't. I have put many 20 hour plus days in.
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  #21  
Old 24th June 2009, 06:16
6283 6283 is offline  
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Have sailed on two different vessels under the command of masters of the female persuasion. One a Ro-Ro and the other a product tanker. I served as 2nd Mate on the one and Chief Officer on the other.
Must say that both women were fine Captains. Both of them are now pilots (in different ports).
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  #22  
Old 24th June 2009, 13:35
JoK JoK is offline  
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Now that I have had some sleep and thought about it, here is the rest of my post.
Cap'n Pete, MarineJockey's post is a very good indication why a lot of woman can't be bothered to stay at sea. I have heard that opinion wrapped up in so many different obnoxious words that it just washes down my back. I know what I am capable of doing and so are the people I work with.
MarineJockey made a sweeping generalization that in order to be able to do a job, then obviously a woman has to be a dyke. To be blunt MarineJockey, you are a Jackass.
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  #23  
Old 24th June 2009, 14:39
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Top quality bait there MJ - can I borrow some?

If I was to place my hand on my heart I would say that I prefer not to have women at sea, as a general rule they can be trouble, either directly or indirectly, BUT having said that I have sailed with a few absolute belters who I would sail with any day of the week - so it is a generalisation (actually a generalisation based on a few really bad experiences which tend to overule the good experiences for some reason)

I feel it is also important to point out that if they come to sea then they have my respect for doing that and I hope I have never treated them any differently from anyone else.

The actual question of getting more to come and getting more to stay at sea as I said is moot. Just trying to get anyone at all to do the job nowadays is so difficult that no one really cares what sex they are - I guess its like sexual equality through desperation - just like the war
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  #24  
Old 24th June 2009, 21:22
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Did Buries Markes not have female cooks in some of their ships in the mid and late 60s?

J
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  #25  
Old 24th June 2009, 23:10
benjidog benjidog is offline
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Judging by some of the recent comments on this thread, some of you guys would presumably have sympathy with the views of the Taleban.

I could understand it, to an extent, from people who have been retired for some time, but those of you still at sea ....... are you living in a different century to the rest of us or just misogynists?

The word "dinosaur" comes to mind for some reason. Sadly this kind of view exists in other spheres of life as well.
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