Trailblazing women of the maritime industry come together

Kaylah Joelle Baker

In celebration of the 60th Melbourne Boat Show and the remarkable women paving the way in the maritime industry, Boating Industry Association Victoria and the City of Melbourne hosted a Women on Water networking event in Docklands last month. 

The one-day-only occasion was held on Thursday, October 20 at the Melbourne City Marina and was a time for women to connect, and share in their knowledge, experience and passion for gender balance in their chosen industry.

In attendance, and speaking at the event, was director of Better Boating Victoria Katherine Grech and general manager of Oil Response Company of Australia (ORCA) Narelle Ward. 

Equipped with extensive careers and training, both women are an example of the trailblazing figures dedicating their time to changing the industry for the better. 

Starting off the discussion, Ms Grech spoke about how she started as a marine scientist and environmental manager working in the tropics and the water industry, before discussing her journey during the past few years in recreational boating. 

She also shared her vision for the maritime industry, and how her team of 11, which is made up of six women, was turning these hopes into fruition. 

“I feel it is really important to represent women in the industry, so others can see how well and effectively we work and how we really value our relationships with stakeholders,” she said.

Ms Ward then went on to discuss the work ORCA does and what is involved in her field of work, before echoing how important it was to pave the way for women in the industry. 

“I’m very proud of what I do and I will always promote the benefits of having more talented young women in the maritime industry,” Ms Ward said. 

In closing, the event finished off with time for women to congregate and discuss the future of the industry over morning tea, as they looked out onto the Melbourne Boat Show which was in the process of being set up. 

In her address at the event, Lord Mayor Sally Capp said it was “fantastic to hear from [the] inspiring line-up of women in the marine industry”. 

“These incredible women in water are doing their bit to break down barriers and shake up gender representation in the industry,” she said. 

“Melbourne is a city built on water, and we’re working closely with groups like Yarra Riverkeeper, Melbourne Maritime Heritage Network, and local boating clubs to boost female participation in the marine industry.” •

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