Tired of sailing with misogynists, bullies, and yes, rapists

I took the liberty of lifting the title of this thread from another post.

Try to stay somewhat on topic and within forum guidelines.

A little more context - from the cadet’s letter

" The 1st Assistant Engineer, a man in his 60’s, often made derogatory comments about women and told me early in the trip that “ you should know your place, and it ain’t out here. A woman’s place is in the home .” The 1st was my supervisor and the 2nd in command of the engine department, and I was afraid of him. He was creepy, made romantic passes at me and made crude and demeaning comments about me in front of other members of the engine department."

Here are the other threads:

A link to the M.L.A.A. site with the original letter.


  1. One who hates or mistrusts women.
  2. A woman-hater.
  3. A woman hater.

I started working on bulk freighters in the ‘90’s. After a couple of months i noticed it seemed any one over 50 was divorced. I’d hear them talking about how their wives got half their retirement and now they have to continue working an extra 5-10 to rebuild their saving so they can retire.

Generally speaking the guys felt they had provided a good living for their spouse and then she screwed them. I can easily imagine them treating a young female cadet poorly in an effort to drive them out of the industry. The girls should be a home, providing for their family and supporting their husband. Something these guys no longer had and they resented it.

Women onboard would also be seen as potentially disrupting the routine that they depended on. Any disruption to the routine on these ships would draw angry and negative comments. Just having a new deckhand or mate on board and things get tense. Men interact differently with each other when women are around(and women do when men are in the group). We are dealing with human nature here and company policy or law will not change it.

A woman i worked with(mid 40’s) on a passenger boat went to work as a porter on these freighters. Had her own room. She liked to lay out in her bikini. Standing in the pilot house we could tell she was out as we would notice the AB’s repeatedly going out on deck and walking down the same side and around back again. She would hang out in the pilot house so much they posted a sign saying “bridge crew only” or something like that. Eventually she got in a onboard relationship with the captain. This is exactly what these grumpy old men didn’t want to have to deal with. These guys didn’t hate women, it was the disruption to routine that got them irritated.

My mother got a job on a bulk freighter as a deckhand when she was @48 years old. She had been a secretary. It was a 1000’ ITB and she had to room with the other deckhands. Maybe 4 to a room, i dont recall. She put up with all the shit a new green hand has to deal with and she did well enough they called her back the next year.

This is two very different examples of women working on ships. If you want to be successful in this industry I recommend not asking for special consideration, learn fast and do your job well, don’t take shit from anyone, especially your supervisor. Don’t get into sexual relationships or drink onboard.


I’ve been very fortunate to not have worked with open racists or misogynists in several years. As a middle aged white male it is a humungous liability to work with or befriend them. Concerning being friends with them, not being friends with a racists or misogynists is easy because they usually have other mental/personality defects that I don’t want to be around. The problem that I hated was working in environments where being a racist or misogynist was tolerated. If a large company has no or too few African Americans or females in senior positions then that should be a warning sign of a culture of racism or misogyny. Just because a company or union says it is a EOE doesn’t mean it has a culture that tolerates diversity.

As mentioned on another thread, I hope a group of female mariners band together & file a class action lawsuit against the male preferred companies & unions like was filed against Texico & other companies that systematically discriminated against minorities & females.

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Merit based hiring is best. Hiring based on sex or ethnicity makes it look like they weren’t the best candidate for the job, and they may not have been. It is degrading to the individuals who earned the position yet now have the stigma of being token employees.

The most effective way to change shipboard culture is to set the standard yourself. Work your way into the position you want and 10-20 years from now you will be the old timer. Then you will be the one setting the standard, you will be training the new crew and cadets.

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Sorry this is just not the way it is


I agree with this in principle but in practicality sometimes it isn’t possible because of toxic cultures where lawyers & the government needs to step in. What would you say about a tug company that had decent wages, a Cadillac insurance plan with nearly 100 vessels with zero female captains or chief mates & no African American captains with 1 African American chief mates? That was a company/union (old Eklof/K-Sea/Local 333) that I worked for & every black man who I talked with knew they weren’t getting above 2nd mate so they didn’t stay or try. The company that I worked with before then had African American & female captains & chief mates because of lawsuits & bad publicity over their racists/misogynists culture in the past. The Civil Rights movement enforced by the courts worked wonders in the south concerning giving African Americans a level playing field. I hope one day the courts give female mariners the same thing. Some places have cultures too toxic to fix themselves.

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back when I was working megayachts in the 90’s there was a full female crew on one. USA crew and flag
But women cant generally work together like men can so not sure how happy a boat that was?

There’s a bunch of professions that are almost fully female. 1800s textile mills, nurses, convents.

employed life is a little different today than 1800
Assuming your not 200 years old have you every worked in an office with mostly women?

At this point in history no ship captain is going to discover a new “new world” Those days are long gone.

Today a successfully voyage means on schedule, on budget and with no incidents. Which would include avoiding lawsuits.

Among the skills required to accomplish this successful voyage, a key skill set is called leadership and management, also called knowing how to run a ship.

To some degree these skills can be taught and there is time set aside to it, in the current required leadership and management courses.

If the material being taught now was replaced by something useful and instructors replaced by people who actually knew something about the subject that would at least be a step in the right direction.


These days uneventful voyages are achievements on the level of the moon landing to me. I don’t want or need wild stories (the kind that outsiders to this industry crave hearing.)


We found an old, secondhand racing yacht with a pedigree. … She was in a terrible state, and we put her on a ship and we brought her back to the U.K. and then I gave the girls sledgehammers and I said, “Right, take her apart,” and we did. We stripped the inside of the boat. We stripped the deck. We took the mast out. We took everything apart. …

This was also a bit of a first, because people didn’t usually see women in shipyards. So that was an interesting situation. … All these other guys had a shore team. They had brand new boats. So they didn’t really need to do any work on them. And so they’d sit in a cafe and watch us as we were putting this boat together. …

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In my early years I worked with a major multinational company .Once selected for mid to upper level management positions we went thru training over a couple of years. Some was repeast of school courses like Maslow’s hierarchy but other’s were very valuable. Time management was the one I found most valuable over the years but also we were required to go thru conflict management classes as well as many others… Many of the courses seemed silly to me but eventually they proved their worth. Once I switched over to the maritime industry I often thought how valuable it would be to have those same courses taught to shipboard management. Something a little more in depth than BRM or ERM.
Senior deck and engineering folks are running multi-million dollar businesses! Often they do so with little more training than a cursory BRM/ERM course and their own wits, along with the monkey see-monkey do training they received during their shipboard development. As long as you have the right monkey as an example things are just fine, but we all know that doesn’t happen all the time. I have great admiration for those who on their own inititative undertook further study but it would be to every shipping companies advantage to provide proper management training. It pays dividends.


I see a lot of thought is once again drifting toward labeling us the problem instead of the assholes who are making the derogatory remarks and dangerous actions. That’s stinkin thinking. I don’t need to be told to work hard and set the standard myself especially if you don’t know me. I went back to sea at 53 and worked damned hard, hard as any man, never asked for favors or special treatment, got the doubly delightful treatment of being shit on for being an older female. But I also worked with some very competent and pleasant people too. Get rid of the dysfunction that permits assholes to be hired, retained and promoted. Period.


There is a man (oddly enough, sailing with Maersk now) who I’m told threatened to kill one of the union’s officials and made other remarks on a social media platform directed towards a woman who disagreed with him on a political forum, saying she deserved to “be raped to death.” He was still advanced, therefore guaranteeing him both seniority and work in the union… all because leadership claims everyone gets a book unless they actually physically do something warranting dismissal.

It’s a reactive industry, not proactive. And it’s sad. Now we own that pig.


Had other union members complained about this individual he would have been gone long ago, at least with the union I worked with. Witnessing such behavior and not speaking up makes one complicit in my mind. It is like the “thin blue line” fallacy with police. They know full well they have a “few bad apples” but they won’t report them. When the shit hits the fan the unions go to bat for the bad apple instead of throwing it out of the basket to keep it from causing rot.
As Shakespeare said in Julius Caesar "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves.

From what I was told he had many “do not recommend for advancement” letters sent in, including screenshots of his own words on social media but he was advanced anyway. Probably to keep the dues payments rolling in or out of fear of a lawsuit for “being targeted unfairly,” or some such BS. Who knows…

If that is the case the company who employed him is at fault. One individuals dues are chump change to a union. A union would risk a having to defend a moron AND risk losing a contract for $500/yr dues from one guy? Something doesn’t seem right about this story.

I think as long as the number of good letters outnumber the bad ones in your file they overlook the negative press.

For me? If I have some good reviews and some bad reviews of an employee I tend to wonder about the bad ones. Simply because I know how hard it is for a supervisor to write a bad one. It is not a weighing contest when choosing to advance a deck officer or engineer, it is a judgement call. After taking into consideration the people writing the reviews I would never promote a person who had two or more bad reviews from different people. That to me is a big red flag. The union I worked with was even more critical. Do NOT send someone who will reflect badly on all of us was the mantra.