Women on the Water Conference 2009

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Coming up very soon, on October 15-17, 2009, is the 3rd Annual Women on the Water Conference. This event is hosted by the Maine Maritime Academy in partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration. The purpose of the event is primarily to connect cadets from the Federal and State Merchant Marine Academies and Colleges with professional women already established and working as leaders in the maritime industry.

As a woman in the marine industry, it was suggested that I comment/blog about this particular topic.  What struck me about this event is that it is only the 3rd conference of its kind. Surely I thought that women are well established in this industry and that these types of events would have been happening for years, right?  So I started to do more research, mostly out of curiosity, to find out what particular events and organizations are out there for women working in the industry.  Now you think I would know that, being that I have been working in the industry for over 15 years, but honestly involving yourself in these types of things takes time; time away from the day to day operations of business; time which I apparently have not had or at the least budgeted in the last decade and a half.

One organization I discovered right here in my backyard, or my front yard depending how you look at it, is the Woman Divers Hall of Fame (in NYC). This organization will be celebrating its 10th anniversary this March 2010. There are currently 146 members from 29 U.S. states and territories and 11 countries worldwide. Members are selected annually and nomination guidelines require the highest of credentials.

The member roster includes a woman who holds a world record for women’s deep air diving, to the depth of 425 feet, another who acted as the underwater damsel in distress in the TV series Sea Hunt, a renowned underwater photojournalist, a U.S. Navy Diving and Salvage Officer, and another who founded an organization which teaches people with disabilities how to scuba dive. One woman even worked as a stunt diver. Now that is an unusual job.

As I’m reading about these woman and their amazing contributions, honestly, I’m wondering where they got the time to accomplish all this fantastic stuff. That’s when I came across the bio of a member with 10 children who trained over 500 students and logged over 1,000 hours underwater on 2,000+ dives. Yet still, one of her most memorable accomplishments included diving the Andrea Doria. Now that’s what I call amazing.

I’m realizing I really need to get my head out of the office more to look at the bigger picture, so to speak, of Women on (or under) the Water. The marine industry really is a male dominated industry from what I’ve seen. Maybe it’s true that these organizations that support women in the industry are still in their youth, but women have been in the industry a lot longer than many people think.  Some women may have arrived through a connection with a husband or parent and some may have arrived as individuals, but all are pioneers; even today in the 21st century.

My little research project has inspired me to consider where I might leave my mark on this industry. I hope the female Merchant Marine Cadets in attendance at the upcoming Women on the Water event are inspired to make their own mark on the industry.

-Janet Castle, President of Hydo-Marine Construction

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~ by castle2268 on October 12, 2009.

2 Responses to “Women on the Water Conference 2009”

  1. Hello Janet and thank you for taking the time to write this! I really enjoyed reading your artical. We are growing stronger and with the energy you have only positive things can happen. Take care, Sandie – Marion Hill Associates, Inc.

  2. Janet, thanks for taking the time, in what i know is a very busy day, to write about Women on the Water. We are out here! Fifteen years in the industry and you still have time to write articles..You are an inspiration. Another fabulous organization for those out there interested is Women in Transportation, I’ve been a member for the last several years. Maybe you could organize another Conference for those of us who couldnt attend this past week. Thanks Janet

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