All-female crews are nothing new
to Long Island ferries.
Maritime has historically been a male-dominated industry. Yet, for four Long Island ferry companies, female captains and deckhands have become the norm.
At Fire Island Ferries Inc., women make up about one third of the ferry’s summer staff of 200 employees. And, depending on the shift schedule, it is not uncommon for ferries to run without any male crew members.
According to Morgan Mooney, one of the company’s four female captains and the only full-time female captain when she began eight years ago, “Girls work just as hard, if not harder. It’s not to prove anything. It’s just how we are.”
Fire Island Ferries is not the only ferry company on Long Island with female captains—Davis Park Ferry (Patchogue to Fire Island), Sayville Ferry (Fire Island Pines, Cherry Grove, Sailors Haven and Water Island), as well as North Ferry (Greenport to Shelter Island) often have all-female crews.
The Barrier Was Breeched Long Ago
Though it may seem like a fairly recent development, female ferry captains have been around Long Island for close to 40 years. At Sayville Ferry, who first had a female captain in the late ‘70s or early ‘80s, company president Ken Stein commented that “we really broke out of that barrier” with a number of female deckhands and captains during the ‘80s. While at Davis Park Ferry, female crews began decades ago for the company’s Wednesday “Ladies Day.” The operation currently has four female captains. When the General Manager of North Ferry, Bridge Hunt, was asked about shift schedules resulting in all-female crews, he said it’s “by the luck of the draw. I don’t give it a second thought. They’re all sailors.”
For anyone taking their daughter to one of Long Island’s beautiful ferry destinations, isn’t it nice to know that the captain just might be the inspiration for their child’s future dream job?
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