Marine Chief Steward Lindy Constantine started her seafaring career back in 1990, joining Programmed Marine (then known as Total Marine Services) in 2006.
She is currently working on board the Solstad Nor Australis vessel. Her advice to the aspiring female seafarer? “Have good self-belief, knowing that you can do the job as good as the next person and being a woman doesn’t change anything.” She shares her story with us.
“As Chief Steward I am in charge of the catering department and am responsible to the Captain. On a day-to-day basis, I’m responsible for receiving and check the quality, quantity, storing, issuing and accounting of provision, linen and cabin stores.
Before I went away to sea, my qualifications were certificates in Hospitality, Al a Carte waiting and Restaurant Supervisor/Maître D.
To be a seafarer you also have to be fully trained in sea safety survival which entails fire-fighting, certificate in Fire Team Member Offshore, certificate in Heli Deck Fire Fighting, rescue at sea, Helicopter Underwater Escape Training. I’m also a qualified Marine Cook.”
Prior to Programmed Marine, Lindy was Chief Steward on many other vessels including the Bass Strait Ferries, Sea Cat Tasmania, TT-Line’s Spirit 0, 1 2 and 3 where she worked as a Restaurant Supervisor, soon becoming a qualified Cook before advancing to Assistant Manager of Hotel Services (Chief Steward) which she held the 2IC position for four years before leaving and starting a new career in the oil and gas offshore industry.
Lindy’s work is incredibly diverse and situated in some of the world’s most remote regions. “As seafarers we live and work in isolated environments. We usually don’t leave the vessel until we go on leave. Good nutritional food, clean cabins, a friendly attitude towards your work and other colleagues helps you and everyone to be able to stay positive during your time at work.”
Working offshore has many highlights for Lindy. “The sheer diversity of the work scope and meeting so many different people. You’re often travelling to ships, picking up vessels overseas and then working on board to prepare the shop before sailing to Australia and going on much-awaited leave after completing a 28-35 day 12-hour day working roster,” she explains.
She acknowledges that being a female and working in a male dominated workforce can be challenging at times. “I sometimes am the only female worker on the ship. We may have 60-80 people on board and I am the only woman. Luckily through education, equality between men and women is definitely changing. It is having a positive effect even on those die hard old “sea dogs” and some of their outdated perceptions towards woman in the seafaring workforce.”
She is a strong supporter of supporting and nominating women for future positions within the workforce. “Gender or age shouldn’t be a deciding factor in who is employed for a job. Working at sea in a predominately male workforce has taught me to be strong minded, be clear and decisive, respectful to myself and others.”
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