Survey results are in!
Grays Harbor Historical Seaport surveyed a random group of 132 crew members about their experiences sailing on tall ships Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain. The results confirm what many crew members already know, that Hawaiian Chieftain and Lady Washington provide an inexpensive, accessible route into the maritime industry.
Maritime Work: A New Generation Needed
A “greying” industry, the American Merchant Marine is a vital part of our national economy, but its workers are aging. Reports show the industry to be male-dominated with an average age of 54 for Washington state maritime workers (Seattle Times, July 2016). Women represent only 1-2% of the global maritime workforce (International Labour Organization, December 2003).
Historically people have worked their way up the ladder at sea, on the job training is sometimes referred to as “climbing up the hawsepipe” [the opening where the anchor chain comes aboard the vessel]. There are multi-generational maritime families where skills have been passed down, but today the hawsepipe route is narrowing. Education is available through maritime academies, but in most cases tuition is tens of thousands, sometimes over one hundred thousand dollars.
What the Numbers Show
The results from Grays Harbor Historical Seaport crew members present a very different, more hopeful set of statistics. Aboard these vessels, the historic route of the hawsepiper, through on-the-job-learning is alive and well. Your support helps keep this maritime tradition, and modern pathway into maritime, alive for new generations.
If you have sailed as a crew member and have not yet taken the survey, please do so here: https://goo.gl/forms/a2mJjkjuSplJ0q483