How are gays perceived in the shipping industry?

Peculiar question, I know, and I’m well aware that no two crews are alike, but in a male dominated industry such as this it wouldn’t surprise me if gays would make some people feel particularly uncomfortable onboard or at a maritime academy. Can anyone speak from experience as to whether or not this could present any real problems? I’m juggling between two very different college paths, and I’m still trying to see if this lifestyle would suit me!
Thanks in advance!

In my own experience I have worked with several lesbians in this industry in all segments, but the only openly gay guys I’ve worked with were in the passenger vessel side of things. I’m sure they’re out there on ships and tugs and OSVs, just as in society as a whole. I would think that one would find the same issues on a ship or tug as you find on land. Sometimes you’re hassled, sometimes you’re left alone, but at least there are legal protections in place now that once were not there. A younger, more tolerant and accepting generation is coming up and that can only help. I’m just sorry that it still causes one to consider a career choice based on their sexuality. I look forward to the day, and I truly believe it will come, when one’s sexuality is no more an issue than his or her choice of car, or favorite beer, or breed of dog. I assume you’re gay, and you know better than anyone that because of that you are going to face challenges no matter what path you choose. If you have a passion for a life at sea then follow it. You’ll find a way to deal with the challenges this life presents just as we all do, and if it truly is your passion you’ll let nothing stand in your way. Fifteen or twenty years ago women began breaking into the industry against major resistance and have become accepted and many are sailing Master. What resistance there once was to females has, as far as I can tell, disappeared. Sexual harassment is simply not tolerated by management if for no other reason than the huge liability they face should there be litigation. As far as I’m concerned, if you can do the job and you’re a good shipmate you’re welcome on my vessel. That is just about the only test that matters to me, and that should matter to anyone. Good luck to you in making your decision.

The cook on my ship is gay and almost the entire crew prefer him over the guy on the other rotation for the simple fact that he’s a better cook. About the only thing I’ve ever heard of about an uncomfortable situation is when someone has said some derogatory comment or joke about gays around him (not directed at him). I’m sure I’ve sailed with other’s that were gay but either don’t remember or they kept it hidden. But sailing since '92 on a lot of different ships the numbers would point that I have. Good luck no matter what you do.

I go to an academy with two gays, one is pretty far out there and the other likes to keep quiet about it. Other than the fact that it reminds us to be more concious about what we say, it has no effect on how everyone gets along.

Tolerance is the key. I would trust the quiet gay guy with my life in a shipboard situation a lot sooner than some of the other people I go to school with!

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Sorry, I could not help myself. (Its a great song)
In all Seriousness BEST OF LUCK TO YOU!!

I worked with an individual that flaunted it in your face. A real FLAMER. he is an AB that would literally skip across the deck. Having said that he is a good worker. No one would have had a problem with him if he would keep it to himself. Several of the crew were uncomfortable not with the fact that he was gay, but that he paraded around like he had something to prove, kind of like a big gay chip on his shoulder.

You know what they say…It’s not gay if you are underway!!

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thanks Captain Lee. You made my day reminding me of that one!

If anyone goes to Liverpool, the Merryside Musem in Albert Dock actually has a section on Gay’s Underway. The musem is mostly dedicated to the Titanic and Lusitania, and has a lot of neat displays, including the originial shipbuilder’s model of the Titanic. And then you walk around a corner and there’s this huge pink sign that says Hello Sailor! It was actually pretty interesting - about how guys in the Navy would go away and become gay because there were no women onboard, but when they came home, they returned to their heterosexual ways.

You don’t “become gay”. Those were cases of “becoming opportunistic”.

I stand corrected.

I think the only point you would have an employment problem is if you made people uncomfortable (describing sex at the dinner table for example) or you have a relationship aboard. Otherwise, like anything else aboard ship, it completely matters how much you reveal about yourself and how tough your skin is. If you joke, talk behind your back or even minor harrasement are going to make you misserable then it may not be worth it. Otherwise, if you work hard few will really care.
Another example. I have worked with two very attractive females. One wore tight clothes, had on board romances and went out drinking with the guys, the other wore baggy coveralls, never dated shipmates, ignored rude jokes and did things like hiking or scuba diving with coworkers during off time. Both were smart and did a great job on deck - guess which one ran into problems.
I would say don’t hide who you are just act professional and expect the occasional asshole will be guning for you.

Who cares?
If You fell overboard and the guy who reached out to pull you to safety was gay, would you rather drown? We’re all just trying to get through this expedition we call life. “Can’t we all just get along?”

What ever people want to do on their off time is none of my damm bizness, long as they don’t expect me to watch, listen or handle the anal warts cream. Thank you.

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No worries Fletch… what did think the g in gCaptain stood for?


190 Homophobia

Submit an internal medicine or homophobia consultation with clinical history of the condition, including diagnosis and course.

115 History of Gender Reassignment

Complete medical history and records to determine that there is no medical, psychiatric, or psychological condition. Medical disqualification is considered appropriate during the time of hormonal manipulation until such time as there is a stabilization of the physiological response on maintenance medication.

Seadog! you’re a funny guy. I looked it up, and can’t believe #115 is real. Wait, yes I can! The Coast Guard covers all contingencies.

haha i appreciate all the encouraging words, guys, and i’m glad to know that my fears were largely unfounded

I have work with gay guys, I have found them to be great shipmates, highly professional

We had a gay cook back in the day. It was fine once you got to know him. He was a helluva cook, so that didn’t hurt. Even homophobes like to eat. Plus, when we hit the bars, all the hot chicks would flock to him. That was a while back though. Sorry if this got off track.
The reality of the situation is that on most vessels, ships or whatever. You will find that everyone has a job to do. If the officers on board are worth their salt, the work will always come first. Just do your job and let people be people. If you run into the occasional jerk, let him know what your boundries are. People on boats tend to respect each others space. It is a necessity for survivial in the maritime industry. That respect will carry over. Worry about your work. Take care of that, everything else will work out.

Mywife would rather I sail with a gay man than a female. But she hates me…