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Megan Arnott—NSW Port Authority
I grew up like the majority of the Australian public, unenlightened about the merchant shipping industry. However, being raised around the water and sailing, it sparked an interest in the shipping industry that was obvious to me, the cruise ships.
How did you become interested in your career?
During a university open day I stumbled across the Australian Maritime College (AMC) stall where I asked the question, “What do I need to do to be a captain of a cruise ship?” From there the rest is history, I went to the AMC, completed my pre-sea training, found a cadetship on a little chemical tanker and my interest and achievements in the industry only grew from there.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love the everyday challenges that this job and industry brings, no two days are the same and every day is interesting. You wake up each day not quite knowing what the day might bring, it is such a dynamic environment with so many aspects to manage, such as weather, people, traffic and commercial.
What motivates you each day?
I guess I would be lying if I didn’t say it was my personal pride really pushing to strive for my best every day. I don’t think being a minority in the industry drives this, I think even if I was part of a majority group, my personal pride would still be pushing me to be my best. I recently asked a colleague if being a female in the role means the bar is set higher. The response was no, to which I was doubtful, but I have since come to the realisation that this was not a bar being set by others but one which I was setting for myself.
Who are your female role models?
How do you name female role models, there are just too many. Any one, male or female who has ever followed their dream, successfully or not, but had the courage to even begin. I admire all the women in the shipping industry who are paving the way to hopefully see women represent a larger proportion of the recruits and hopefully it will be normal to see women in these roles.
What would you say to women interested in joining the maritime industry?
To anyone looking at going into the industry I would absolutely say, go for it. If you are truly passionate about the industry you will find a truly satisfying, adventurous career, where you will be also rewarded with lifelong friends. Though in the current climate of the Australian shipping industry my words of encouragement would also come with the disclaimer that there can be hard times and it is good to be open to both local and foreign opportunities, including ones that may seem different to the more traditional or direct career path.
How do you unwind?
Though much of my down time is taken up with our 2 year-old-son, any unwinding generally involves time around the water, whether this be boating, kayaking, swimming or a walk by the water. Unless we are out bush you will nearly always find us by the water.
What’s your favourite lighthouse?
So many lighthouses have so many different memories and stories. My favourite close to home would have to be Cape St George lighthouse and its ill-fated and controversial construction.