When a member of Sea Tow calls for rescue, they probably do not sit around thinking if the captain coming to their rescue will be a man or a woman, they are just waiting to be saved and be back out in the open water. That is, until the captain does arrive and looks of surprise cross the faces of families because that captain happens to be a woman.
Captain Wendy Sears and Captain Angela Moore, of Sea Tow Eastern Connecticut, have seen the look of surprise more often than not but the questioning looks and whispering comments never keep these strong captains from doing what they love most. As for Captain Amy Donaldson of Sea Tow Sebastian, confidence on the water comes from real-life experience.
For Captain Wendy, assisting fisherman and families out on the water has been her job for over 17 years. It was after a car accident that Wendy knew she could no longer sit behind a desk and found her calling on a small, inshore dragger fishing boat. The thought of slowing down on the water because she is a woman has never stopped Wendy from being confident in the water.
On one rescue, a boat with four gentlemen say Wendy approaching and yelled out, “Where is your help,” with Wendy casually replying, “I am your help!” Comments like those can be hard for some to hear, but not for Wendy who has proved herself capable and more than confident in being a captain.
“I became a captain because I never took “no” for an answer,” Captain Sears said. “In any job I went for, it was clear that I was not the right type for the position until I found Sea Tow and I knew I could do it. Always be strong, confident, listen and learn as much as you can. You will be amazed at what you can do.”
The same insight was given by Captain Angela Moore. “Always go for it,” she said. “If someone tells you that you are not capable of your dreams, do not listen to them and keep pushing forward.”
Captain Moore has been in the water since 2001 working on a commercial fishing boat and transitioning to yacht management care. Just a few years later, in 2004, Angela joined the Sea Tow family and has been enjoying herself ever since. “I love being on the water and I meet so many great people along the way. Yes, I may get called honey or sweetie along the way but I choose to ignore it because I am doing what I want and it keeps me on my toes.”
The weather and tide currents may be different between Connecticut and Florida, but the act of saving others is the same. Captain Amy Donaldson grew up around shorelines in New Jersey and holds many memories of being on a boat with friends and family. After working tireless days behind a desk as a graphic designer, the waves were reaching for her once more and she landed her first boating job in 2003.
She spent as much time as she could on the water and earned her captains license in 2005, the same time she began working for Sea Tow Naples and started at her current franchise, Sea Tow Sebastian in 2013. Captain Donaldson quickly realized how powerful the water is and gained her own confidence by always being aware of her surroundings and not letting others keep her from doing her job correctly. “I am here to help others and get the job done,” said Captain Amy Donaldson. “The freedom of the water is what led me to my new career path, and the experience to help others on the water is what keeps me.”
A piece of advice Captain Donaldson would like to share with members reading is this: “Buy a boat, enjoy the freedom I feel but do not keep yourself from knowing how to control the boat should something go wrong. Experience is key when in open water so women, do not place all the responsibility of being a captain to the men. Boat with someone who does have experience and learn from them, it will make boating that much more enjoyable.”
The boating industry may seem male dominated but times are changing as more mothers, sisters and daughters are making their way onto boats and following their own path.