Meet Amanda Locke, from Merrimac, Massachusetts. Amanda works offshore for a major drilling contractor in the Gulf of Mexico and is a graduate of Massachusetts Maritime Academy with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation. Amanda has worked on the water for 8 years and currently holds both a Chief Mate License for working on unlimited tonnage vessels and an Unlimited Dynamic Positioning Certificate.

Amanda is currently a dynamic positioning operator (DPO) on a drillship.  Her main duty is to monitor the vessel’s station keeping capabilities to ensure her vessel remains in position during drilling operations, regardless of the environmental conditions on the open water.

Amanda’s offshore career is unique because she is also a mom of a 7 month old baby boy.  Amanda came back to offshore work when he was 4 months old. She was able to take 5.5 months off for her pregnancy and postpartum period, with pay, thanks to the support of her offshore career. Amanda hopes to empower other woman to see that it can be possible to have a family and work offshore!

Below, Women Offshore asked more questions about Amanda’s career. Here’s what she had to say:

Amanda, what inspired you to work on the water?

“In all honesty, I had no idea I wanted to work on the water until I attended Massachusetts Maritime Academy. I quickly fell in love with the idea of a career at sea during my first sea term, freshmen year. To this day, there is still nothing better than working on the water; there’s just something about the way I feel at sea. The schedule is perfect and allows me to have quality time at home with my family and loved ones.”

Please tell us about your most memorable experience.

“My cadet shipping, junior year in college contains, a lot of my memorable experiences. I was in the Persian Gulf on a ship conducting multiple, daily underway replenishments. Seeing two ships so close together, connected and moving was absolutely amazing to me. Transiting the Suez Canal was also mesmerizing. I got to experience a whole other world being in the Persian Gulf for those two months. It was definitely a memory I will never forget.”

Offshore Drilling Rig

What motivates you to continue working on the water if it’s a long-term career for you?

“Working offshore is full of perks, in my opinion! I love the schedule and the quality time it gives me at home. It allows me to be a better mom and provide for my family in a way I couldn’t if I was home every night. The lifestyle of working away from home can take a toll on me, but I love the support system that I have. My family motivates me to keep doing what I love to do, especially when strangers, friends, or family ask me, ‘How much longer will you do this for?’  or, ‘Are you really going to continue going out to sea with a baby at home?’ I will continue to work offshore because it’s what I love. I would never make it without the support of my husband and family.”

What challenges have you faced in your career?

“Working in a male-dominated industry comes with its fair share of challenges. When you have a bad day at work, you don’t get to come home and decompress – there is no glass of wine or comfort of your own bed. We live and breathe work while we are offshore with very limited ways to get through a bad day. Sadly, I have faced many of these ‘bad days’ – from being singled out, to being bullied and verbally harassed. I ultimately lost my job because I reported this treatment to an anonymous hotline number when I had done everything in my power to stop it. I felt like I had no one to turn to. The ironic part is, the majority of this poor treatment came from another woman; my captain. These challenges forced me to work harder than any of my male counterparts. I truly believe the women who work offshore have to work harder just to fit in. The challenges I’ve faced have made me stronger and keep me motivated to support my female co-workers offshore.”

What do you think can be done in your industry to encourage more women to pursue similar careers?

“I would say the more women who speak up and share their stories about working in this industry will encourage more women to pursue similar careers. When I was looking at colleges to attend, I had no idea that this industry even existed until I attended a Service Academy College Fair. The thought of attending an academy slightly terrified me, but it made me want it more than anything. I truly believe women need to empower other women. The more we can promote about the industry, I believe more women will be fascinated with a career offshore or similar.”

Thank you, Amanda, for taking the time to answer our questions! We greatly appreciate that you shared your experiences with us and wish you the best of luck!