We are pleased to announce that there is a new deputy in town! Captain Dana Ryan was the top test taker on the Florida pilot exam for the Port of West Palm Beach!

From a young age, Captain Dana Ryan from Jupiter, Florida, wanted to be the captain of her own boat. As a teenager, her entry into the maritime industry came about when browsing the internet, looking for a way to obtain a boating license. Ryan happened upon a website that displayed a container ship. Intrigued by the vessel, she looked up requirements to work on board, coming to the conclusion that she should attend a maritime academy.

Ryan chose SUNY Maritime College, where she earned a Master’s Degree in International Transportation Management and a USCG Unlimited Third Mate’s License. Post graduation, Ryan worked on tankers and container ships, upgrading her credentials over the years to achieve a USCG Unlimited Master’s License. Her ultimate career goal has been to ascend to the pinnacle of the industry by achieving a spot as a maritime deputy pilot, a feat we are proud to announce that she has now achieved.

A maritime pilot is a navigational expert. Many pilots spend months studying for rigorous entrance exams, after acquiring years or even decades of experience on the water. In Florida every March, candidates with the same dream of sailing as a pilot have reported studying over 1000 hours for the 5-hour set of exams!

As a deputy pilot in the Port of Palm Beach, Captain Ryan will train to safely navigate ships in and out of port, acquiring local knowledge in learning how to dock and undock ships regardless of weather conditions.

Captain Ryan looks back on her career in the maritime industry, embracing the challenges. “Being a woman at sea isn’t always easy, especially being a small one. I’ve learned to work smart, not hard and to gain respect by using my intelligence and explaining things or seeking out why we do the things we do, instead of the “because that’s the way it is” mentality. For instance, I don’t need to wrestle a cargo hose into position, I use my brain power to properly position a crane.”

Like many others who have made it to the top, Captain Ryan credits her mentors for her success. One in particular, Captain Bill McCarthy created an inclusive environment. “He was one of the first to fully accept me as a woman on board and supported me to express my ideas and thoughts. This created a foundation of knowledge and confidence to continue on in my career at sea.”

Captain Dana Ryan is not only an accomplished mariner, but also a mentor to women in the industry and a role model at Women Offshore. We are proud to know her. Congratulations Dana on achieving your dream of becoming a maritime deputy pilot in Florida!

Women Offshore
About The Author: Women Offshore

The Women Offshore Foundation is an online organization and resource center for a diverse workforce on the water. Its mission is to propel women into meaningful careers through access to a worldwide community and professional development resources, while raising awareness amongst industry leaders and decision makers about issues affecting women on the water. Contact Women Offshore today: hello@womenoffshore.org.

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