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  • Women going into shipping?

    I am just wondering whether this has got any better in recent years as I am applying for the ETO branch I fully expect to be one of the few women on the course if I get offered a place. I would just like to know what is the general attitude on the ship towards women? If you are one of the only women do you have to share cabins with other crew members? How does this work?

    Also what are the possible employment opportunities onshore if I decide to come out of the Merchant Navy?

  • #2
    Thats a lot of questions.

    I've just finished the ETO course at South Shields and there were two girls in the 2010 intake and 20 boys. One was sponsored by a cruise line, the other by a company in the offshore sector.

    Pretty hard to answer the general attitude question.

    I was on two cruise ships and the female cadets had their own cabin if there wasn't another girl to share with.

    From some internet research, the main shore based opportunities for ETOs are either the industrial electrician and automation route so basically working as a technician in factories or the instrumentation route in power stations / oil refineries / chemical industries.

    I'd like to think its an easy move but I'm sure the unions would make you complete lots of paperwork equivalent to their own apprenticeships before you could get a shore based electrical role. Even domestic electrical work requires City & Guilds training and on the job training.
    Former TH cadet with experience of cruise ships, buoy tenders, research ships and oil tankers

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    • #3
      Women at sea are becoming more and more common, it would be unusual to find someone at sea now who hadn't sailed with a woman at some point. There are still a few people who think that there is no place for women at sea, but they are becoming more rare.

      In terms of cabins I have never known female cadets being asked to share with males.

      I'm not sure about moving ashore, but I would imagine it being easier for ETO's than anyone else.

      I would advise you to go for cruise ships, as an ETO you will see a huge variety of equipment and are likely to sail on diesel electric vessels and as a girl you will not be the only one on the ship.
      Go out, do stuff

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      • #4
        I started in 2010 so have now spent 12 months on ships, I was on bulk carriers. i found that the crew were quite happy to have me on board and were keen to teach as they now relise that women will be coming to sea. you just have to be prepared to be one of the guys when you are on a ship, get stuck in and prove to them that you can do the work. Dont stand back and let them get on with, but on the other hand dont be silly, if you feel that you will hurt your self trying to lift something etc then ask for help they will be more than happy to help you.
        As a woman on board you will either have your own en-suite cabin or share with another cadet. This is the biggest problem with getting a berth on a ship you have to wait until there is a spare cabin on board for you.
        i cant answer your question about ETO opportunists ashore as i am a deck cadet. But i hope the other information helps, just take anything the crew say to you with a pinch of salt and dress respectably so as not to draw un-wanted attention to your self. Apart from that just enjoy the experience and get on with your work whilst on board.i have never had any problems. Good Luck!!!

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        • #5
          BO-At seems to have summed it up pretty well there! You'll never have to share with someone of the opposite sex, and all officers get their own cabins, so you'd only have to share with another girl during your cadetship. The number of women in the MN is slowly growing, and the attitudes are shifting. The more women we have, the faster the attitudes will shift

          Size4riggerboots

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          • #6
            Thanks for all your help you have made me even more determined to change my career into this industry it has been much appreciated.

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            • #7
              Just looking at my post again, the high voltage ticket which forms part of the ETO training may also lead to some shore side roles but I'm really guessing at this point.
              Former TH cadet with experience of cruise ships, buoy tenders, research ships and oil tankers

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              • #8
                Sorry to throw a spanner in the works but I have shared a cabin with males both as a cadet and as an officer (offshore- limited berth space on larger vessels) though we were on opposite watches in all cases and as an officer I received rather sizeable 'compensation' for the inconvenience, like I said both working opposite watches so it was a case of never seeing each other anyway, it is pretty uncommon however to be doing that.

                I find it can be hard the first few days particularly around certain nationalities and how they gauge you (particularly as a trainee when you have to convince some crewmembers that you are in for the duration and won't be working in an office and therefore they have to let you work on deck!) but once everyone gets used to you being around it doesn't really matter at all as long as you just get on with it, though initially it does feel like a bit of a mental battle with certain crewmembers particularly those not used to having women work at all, never mind onboard a ship, throw off the daft questions and rise above it, you'll come out stronger. Occasionally you get some idiot saying a stupid thing or some umm... cultural misunderstandings but generally the better you know people and the longer you're onboard the more this gets ironed out. It can be tough at times and I've had a few 'what am I doing here' moments' both qualified and as a trainee when some idiot has got to me just a little bit too much but laughing most things off rather than letting things get to you seems to work for me 99% of the time.

                If you love the job and the idea of being at sea do it, it's fantastic, I wish there were more women at sea!

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                • #9
                  Unfortunately I am on my phone and possibly just a little socially confused so I can't click on thanks for the above post, but it is right on the money.
                  Go out, do stuff

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                  • #10
                    As for being onboard its been pretty well covered, It will probably be easier on a bigger ship with more female crew and also more crew so you can choose who to socialise with better. however I've sailed with small crews and had female officers and they haven't had too much hassle although one did have to put a 4th engineer in his place.

                    As for shore based work.
                    Apart from marine surveying of electrical things, colleges and teaching, companies that make/maintain equipment mostly offshore oil industry stuff but its the same sort of equipment that you will have been working on.
                    then there's a few non marine options as well

                    As for cruise ships having more equipment that you will get to work on over a tanker I'm not sure firstly you need to see the same stuff, it may be busier in general work so less time for learning and there will be equipment that your not seeing as well. but either option will get you through the cadetship and oral at the end.
                    you can take it with a pinch of salt, but i prefer it with a nip of whisky

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