A role model on the water, Marissa Cap is a first assistant engineer on board an oil tanker who champions women in the industry.
Marissa Cap graduated from Massachusetts Maritime Academy with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marine Engineering and a USCG Unlimited 3rd Assistant Engineer License to power large ships across the globe. For the past 6 years, she has worked on the water, upgrading to an Unlimited First Assistant Engineer License during this time. Currently, Marissa works on board an oil tanker, managed by Crowley Maritime, in the esteemed position of first assistant engineer.
As a first assistant engineer, Marissa is second in command of the engine department after the ship’s chief engineer. Marissa is a “day worker,” working from 0800-1700 and sometimes overtime hours, depending on operational and maintenance schedules. She is accountable for preparing the engine room for arriving and departing ports, handling major overhauls on critical equipment, operating the refrigeration systems and main engines, as well as supervising the junior engineers on board. It can easily be argued that as the first assistant engineer, Marissa is the busiest engineer aboard her ship.
Marissa’s passion for working on engines started at a young age. She was fortunate to grow up on the water in Massachusetts, a setting to forge a path in marine engineering. She has fond memories on the Erica Lee, a fishing vessel used for educational purposes and deep sea charters, tinkering with the engine and learning how to make it run efficiently. Looking back, she is humbled, appreciating the friends and family who helped her along the way. “Over time I got more involved in the maintenance of the vessel and decided to pursue it further. I owe my career to that little boat and the wonderful people who got me working on the water.”
When it came time to pursue a major at Mass Maritime, Marissa knew her calling was in engineering. The minute she stepped on board the Training Ship Kennedy, a steam ship of 15,500 horse power, Marissa knew she belonged in the engine room of large ships. Since that time as a cadet at the Academy, Marissa has valued improving upon her skills and is motivated by the challenging and dynamic environment in her ship’s engine room. She eagerly says, “I am constantly wanting to learn and improve my abilities as an engineer, and that keeps me motivated.”
Marissa has learned to navigate various challenges that come with the job, and through this insight, shared that not all challenges at sea need to be accepted. In the middle of her seagoing career, she took 8 months off to regroup and evaluate her career goals. Knowing the sea as her passion, Marissa went back offshore with a valuable lesson. “If you are unhappy on a ship, go to a different one. Don’t just accept it.”
Marissa is a role model and mentor at Women Offshore. She is passionate about supporting other women in the industry, especially those seeking a career in the engine department. As an experienced mariner, she values a network to support one’s career and recognizes it as an integral part in reducing the gender gap. “I think when girls see there are women out here they will feel that they can do it too. It is important to continue to create a network and support system for women at sea.”
Here at Women Offshore, we couldn’t agree more with Marissa regarding the importance of creating a network to support and mentor one another. We will officially launch our virtual, peer mentoring program on July 27th, at our first event, UNITE, when women from around the globe in the maritime and offshore energy industries gather in Houston, Texas. Marissa will speak during the program and we look forward to hearing more about how she is making waves in her industry.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.