Women Offshore is pleased to showcase Sea Sisters; an online community for women in the maritime industry!
WomenOffshore connected with Elizabeth Simenstad, to discuss what brought her to the industry and how she became the Founder of Sea Sisters.
Elizabeth started working on the water in January, 2010 on an oceangoing tugboat in Seattle, Washington. Her vessel towed a barge loaded with cargo bound for Alaska.
The Start of Sea Sisters
In her first four years working on the water, Elizabeth was always the only female on board. Eventually, she found herself in Valdez, in a fleet rich with diversity. That’s when she had the idea of Sea Sisters. “There was at least one woman on almost every one of the dozen or so vessels in the fleet at any given time. The effect was one of pleasant balance, and it was revelatory. It was around that time that I decided to take a shot at an idea I’d had for a while: Create a website built by women, where we could gather and encourage each other, and tell our stories of what it meant to be a woman on the water.”
An Online Community to Inspire
Founded in 2016, Sea Sisters is an online community to inspire young women and stand as proof that many women are actually at sea making a living. Elizabeth has set up SeaSisters.org to give women considering a career at sea the tools they need to get started. Sea Sisters shares stories and career options on their website to address how to get started, what barriers can be encountered along the way, and how to get documentation in order.
“Years ago when I started working in the maritime world, I sought to find women who had also worked on tugboats so I could ask them what it had been like – but I couldn’t find any.” says Elizabeth. When social media became an effective networking tool, Elizabeth was able to connect with dozens of women who work on the water, regardless of where they were around the globe.
Elizabeth knows the importance of a diverse workforce and is excited for how the industry is continuing to be more inclusive: “What social media and sites like SeaSisters.org and WomenOffshore.org have served to do, is form bridges between the generations so that we can all communicate with each other and form relationships; so as to make the community of women in maritime ever-stronger.”
Head on over to Sea Sister’s Facebook page. Give it a ‘Like’ and send them a message that you read this post. They’ll send you a special, little gift that WomenOffshore has sponsored for you!