When you think of working on the water, oil and gas, shipping, cruise lines, tugs, fishing, Navy, and  Merchant Marines come to mind. So, what if you decide none of these options or others work for you? Well, that is what happened with Lori Stephens. She wanted to work on the water and, at the same time, be able to have her family with her.

Her initial decision to work on the water was made by the responsible, conventional wisdom of her love of the water. Her desire to push for the horizons led her to work on a whale watch boat in Maine, volunteer on a catamaran in the Bahamas, and race small sailboats throughout New England. Working in a large office building from 9 to 5 was challenging and rewarding but a desk job lacked adventure for Lori.  But ironically, that desk job earned her family the savings required to make a seemingly irresponsible decision at that time: to walk away from it all for the horizons of adventure, service, and altruism.  

When Covid interrupted their plan to volunteer with Mercy Ships, a quick google search led to the M/V Logos Hope.  Drawn by the mission to share “Knowledge, Help, and Hope” through literature and practical service, the couple quickly made use of a well-timed layoff and rented their house. They boarded a plane with their 2- and 5-year-old children bound for Kingstown, St. Vincent island in the southeastern Caribbean.  

Many years before during her cadet shipping, Lori decided that she would never sail deep sea commercially as she had a hard time creating meaningful relationships between her young insecurity and the all-male crew.  She was made for community and did not find it on the Mississippi to Florida tanker run, nor on the inland river barges for that matter.  These discouragements left her with a limited tonnage license which had been in continuity for 10 years.  

Her husband Matt’s 2nd Mate license was to be their primary billet on M/V Logos Hope. They soon realized that Lori could re-activate her AB Seafarer rating and earn sea time towards upgrading to 3rd Mate Unlimited. An old dream of Lori’s was revived! In doing so she was able to follow her calling, allowing her to find community despite the deep challenges of living aboard a ship as a family!  

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Martha Music
About The Author: Martha Music

Martha Music is passionate about supporting women who work on the water and an avid boater. She is an experienced treasurer for nonprofits, and serves as the treasurer of the Women Offshore Foundation.

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