Meet Andrea Morrison, a native of Riverside, California, and now a Deputy Branch Pilot with the Aransas-Corpus Christi Pilots. Andrea holds a U.S. Coast Guard Master of Unlimited Tonnage License and is a graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy with a BS in Maritime Operations and Technology. She has worked on ships for the past 7 years and WomenOffshore was fortunate to connect with Andrea to find out more about her impressive career:
Andrea, what inspired you to work on the water?
“I went to Kings Point to be commissioned in the US Navy; but when I went to sea as a Cadet, I knew that sailing commercially was what I wanted.”
What has been the most memorable experience during your career so far?
“I cleaned up a Crude Oil ship to Clean Product as a relatively new Chief Mate. The confidence that the Captain and crew had in me was the best feeling in the world. Without their help, the task would not have been completed successfully. The knowledge that I successfully completed one of the hardest tasks a Chief Mate could handle, and completed it with great shipmates, was by far the proudest I’ve felt.”
If working on the water is a long-term career for you, what motivates you to continue with this career path?
“The daily challenges are what motivate me. There is always something new to learn, and there is always something that you can improve on. Handling ships is a great feeling, and I look forward to becoming a full pilot in Corpus Christi.”
What challenges have you faced in your career?
“Besides the stated above challenge of cleaning up a ship; I have had to interact with people who had predetermined opinion of women at sea. Although it is much less common now than 30 years ago; there are some guys with an ‘old school’ mentality. Usually, my work ethic and performance proved to them that I was not only capable of my job, I did it well. One Captain in particular was rumored to be upset I would be joining his ship, and referred to women as “sea people.” By the end of that trip; he wrote me one of the best evaluations I had received.”
What do you think can be done by your industry to encourage more women to pursue similar careers?
“Recruit more. Have women involved with the recruitment and have them share their stories. Show them women who have had successful careers and personal lives. Don’t recruit them specifically because they’re women; recruit them because they have the tenacity; work ethic and passion for the industry.”
What words of advice would you give someone starting out in your industry?
“Do what interests you; regardless of what people say. Good things don’t come easy. Take every challenge thrown at you. You are much more capable of what you think you are. Ask questions. Never; ever be afraid to ask for help or for what you want.”
Thank you, Andrea, for sharing your career with us! We wish you the best of luck as a marine pilot!