Meet Katie Marshall from Melbourne, Australia. Katie is a deck cadet from the Australian Maritime College (AMC), where she’s earning a Bachelor’s Degree of Applied Science (Nautical Science) and a 3rd Mate License. At the time of this article, Katie is acquiring sea time and applying what she learned in the classroom at AMC on a platform supply vessel (PSV), which is designed to supply offshore oil fields. PSV’s range from 50 to 100 meters in length and accomplish a variety of tasks, including logistic support and transportation of goods, tools, equipment and personnel to and from offshore oil platforms and structures.
Before attending AMC, Katie worked as a bosun on ocean-going tall ships. From her time on deck as a bosun to the navigation bridge as a cadet, Katie shared with Women Offshore what it’s like working off the coasts of Australia:
Katie, please briefly describe what your duties are in your current job.
” My duties range from deck work to navigation, and everything in between! As a cadet, I get to take part in everything going on so I can learn as much as possible about the operations of the vessel.”
What inspired you to work on the water?
“I was inspired by the constantly varied environment, and a new job every day. I love the serenity of being at sea. No matter what’s going on, you can always take 5 minutes out of your day to sit back and appreciate your surroundings. I just feel at home when I’m at sea.”
Please share a memorable experience you’ve had at sea.
“Going from working on tall ships to working currently on a PSV, I never would have thought I would be able to get the hang of driving such a maneuverable vessel. The first time I was asked to bring the vessel to anchor in harbour, I was really nervous about my skills. I did a great job, and everything went fine. That reminded me that I shouldn’t doubt my skills, and to give everything that I can, a solid go.”
What motivates you to continue working on the water if it’s a long-term career for you?
“As well as a life of travel and adventure, what motivates me is the desire to be the best deck officer I can be. Prove that it’s not just a man’s world out at sea, and hopefully one day, inspire young women to become seafarers, just as fantastic women I have met along the road that have inspired me.”
What challenges have you faced in your career?
“With the decline of the shipping industry in Australia, it was a difficult time searching for a company to complete my sea time with. I’m incredibly fortunate at this point in my career to have not really experienced any sexism or sexual harassment in my workplace. Hopefully this means the times are changing, and the maritime industry has the momentum to keep going and eradicate those behaviors in the workforce.”
What do you think can be done in your industry to encourage more women to pursue similar careers?
“I think more visibility and publicity around these sort of careers would help immensely. I only found my way onto this path through a lucky chance and took it, but before that I (like all of my friends back home) had no idea it existed. Whilst I’ve been lucky in not being sexually harassed, I know others in my position that have not been so lucky. Whilst the times are changing, more still needs to be done to educate those at sea what is and is not acceptable behaviour to ensure women feel safe at work.”
Thank you, Katie, for sharing your budding career with us! We wish you the best and can’t wait to feature you later on when you’re a captain!
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@example.com.