Captain Alexia Tisdale thrives on the water, embracing the challenges while building her resilience.

When Alexia Tisdale from Anchorage, Alaska, is not fly fishing off the coast of the Kenai Peninsula, she operates a 30-ton, recreational yacht from Seattle, Washington to Juneau, Alaska. First inspired by the maritime industry in Bristol Bay, Alaska, Alexia sought out work on the water. Over the last 9 years, she has moved up the ranks on commercial fishing boats and yachts.

Captain Tisdale’s career on the water started as a deckhand on a fishing boat that was gillnetting for sockeye salmon in Bristol Bay. When her first contract was complete, Tisdale knew a maritime career was for her, so she set her sights on achieving a USCG 50-ton Master’s License to then, earn her captain’s spot.

A few years into her career with a master’s ticket in hand, Tisdale was in the captain’s seat on a research boat in New Zealand. “I was hired to drive two multi-millionaire scientists who made their fortune from farming mussels around the open sea on the North Island. There, they provided coordinates for me to take them to specific areas to research other areas to build more mussel farms.”

Concerned for her well-being, the scientists wondered if Captain Tisdale was fit to navigate in the open ocean. Her reply, “I’ll be fine. I’m from Alaska.”

Not long after, she regretted those words.

Captain Tisdale succumbed to seasickness within the first ten minutes they were outside protected waters. As she lost her lunch over the side, the scientists gave her a thumbs up, encouraging her that she would be fine, “You’re good. You’re from Alaska!

Not one to turn down a challenge, Captain Tisdale wiped her face and continued to steer out to sea. Her resilience was tough to beat.

What was supposed to be a ten-day work trip in New Zealand, turned into three months of sailing as captain off the north coast. Captain Tisdale even took command of a fishing boat for six weeks in search of snapper and king fish.

Captain Tisdale’s pride for her accomplishments and love for working on the water have fueled her career long-term, despite any naysayers. Many have been quick to point out that she is not the typical fishing boat captain, claiming that her size is a disadvantage. Captain Tisdale continues to stand strong in her resilience, learning from mistakes to move her career forward. “On my worst day, I keep going. On days where I completely throw my ego out the window and should never show my face again, I keep going.”

As Tisdale heads out to sea again, she blasts the song, “Living the Dream,” by Sturgill Simpson, knowing that whatever challenge might come her way this season, she is making her career dreams come true. She recommends that those looking to take his/her career to sea as well, to not be afraid to wholeheartedly go for it. “Whoever you are: Work for it. Put your time in. Get the experience. And, on your worst day, keep going.”

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: [email protected].

Pin It on Pinterest