With love of the ocean inked as an octopus on her right tricep, a young lady, with hopes of working as an urchin harvester with her partner, twisted in her seat, her eyes upon the founder of Sistership Training and skipper Jackie Parry who was giving a speech.
"I'm hoping to demystify breaking into the maritime industry because it's a highly regulated industry, and to show, step-by-step, it's actually quite easy," Ms Parry said.
Within the formal dining room of P&O's cruise ship Pacific Adventure during a stop at the Port of Eden, an exclusive Connecting Women to Maritime Trades event was held to provide for female maritime students unique networking opportunities with industry leaders.
"I've broken into the maritime industry twice, the first time I was a very young, shy, British girl who barely knew the front end from the back end of a boat, and now I'm a global skipper, navigator on both recreational and commercial vessels," Ms Parry said.
"The second time, as a middle-aged, unfit Aussie about to face the southern ocean on a sailing boat after a bit of a break from boats."
With an extensive set of qualifications in the maritime industry, Ms Parry sailed with her husband Noel around the world 1.5 times, circumnavigated the Great Loop in America, traversed French canals on 'Rouge Corsair' a renovated 1920s Dutch barge, and been a trainer for professional courses for over 15 years.
Among attendees, professional organisations within maritime were invited, including Sergeant Steven Judd from Water Police, Adam Russell from NSW Maritime Authority, and Peter Spargo from Australian Border Force.
"On behalf of the police, we're happy in the Water Police to promote anything that improves training and safety at sea and on the water generally, and to provide opportunities for the local community," Sergeant Judd said.
A panel of experts answered questions and included Port Jackson Harbour manager from Svitzer, Renee Connolly, and Island Cruising, and operations director for Heritage Sailing Tasmania, Julie Porter.
Those participating in the panel said they look for resumes with transferrable skills, people who were personable, passionate, presentable, professional, and had a willingness to pitch in, and a resilience regardless of their age.
Karen Keith, 57, from Albury, said she joined because she wanted a new challenge, before she looked down at a printed photo of a fixed floating oil and gas tanker, and said, "I used to work on that, so I'm downsizing."
Some of the youngest participants Coby, 17 and Sophie Van Teulingen, 14, had been keen to try out sailing after hearing how amazing it was from their mother, Jacqui, who sailed the Sydney to Hobart on her vessel the Komatsu Blue Lady.
"[Mum's] always been talking about sailing our entire lives, [and] never really got the chance to go on a boat, and [she] convinced us to go, and it was amazing," Coby said, inspired by her mother.
Sophie said she saw a new side to her mum when they participated in activities and training on the water.
"She smiles like crazy when she's on a boat, I've never seen her smile so much, but when she took us out on Jackie's boat, she's non-stop smiling, biggest grin ever," Sophie said, hoping to experience equally as amazing events out at sea.
For more information about SisterShip Training, click here
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