For the first time in the company’s more than 30- year history, Blue Lagoon Island – Home of Dolphin Encounters, welcomed its first all female boat crew just days after celebrating International Women’s Day. Captain Joenise Marshall and her first mate Jasmaine Lord created quite a scene at the Port of Nassau as visitors noticed the unusual site and asked to take their photograph. Marshall, who only recently joined the company has worked as a captain for 11 years and holds her Class B Captain’s License.
She enjoyed the attention and says she wasn’t at all phased by any additional pressure being the first, but feels it is beyond time for this to be something so rare.
“It is a bit bittersweet that in 2022 we are still in a place that an all-female crew is unusual, but it’s a start for us to raise the mark. It’s 2022 and we as women have to go get it,” she said. First mate Lord has worked with the company for three years and before that worked on the mail boats out of Potter’s Cay and also gained international experience with a shipping company sailing around South America. The day she worked with Captain Marshall, however, was the first time in her entire career that she had the opportunity to be led by a female captain.
“In my whole entire career this is the first time I’ve worked under a female captain. I’m so used to working on ferry boats but always with the guys,” she said, adding “Today it was incredible. This was the most compliments I’ve ever gotten in one single day. It was amazing and I do look forward to doing this again and hopefully soon our other female mate will be able to join us onboard next time and make it even better,” she said.
Both women have their sights set on taking charge of some of Blue Lagoon Island’s larger vessels. In fact, Marshall says the diversity of the company’s fleet is something that particularly excites her as she will have the opportunity to learn and develop her skills even further. Lord first wanted to pursue a career in marine biology and says if she could do both, she would, but for now, her true passion lies in working on the boats. For Marshall, it seems she was destined to end up working in the industry as it is very much a family affair.
“From a very young age, my Dad who is a captain with his master’s license used to take us kids, all girls, out. We grew up from little girls learning how to tie ropes and now, all of my sisters are also in the industry. I love the water, so that’s how I got into it and just never looked back,” she explained.
As for what she would say to other young Bahamian girls considering a career on the sea, she says simply “If you have a passion for it, then go for it. There is no limit.”
Dolphin Encounters, located on idyllic, Blue Lagoon Island, Bahamas, offers visitors from around the world a unique
opportunity to interact with and learn about marine animals in their all-natural habitat. Home to native Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins, California sea lions, native Southern stingrays and Bahamian nurse sharks, this leading attraction continues to set the standard for marine animal interactive programs in the world. Blue Lagoon Island is American Humane certified and is a Travelife Partner. Blue Lagoon Island also became the first Bahamian business to successfully obtain the Safe Travels accreditation for its COVID-19 safety protocols.
Owned and operated by a local family, Blue Lagoon Island is a private island experience that provides guests with authentic, eco-friendly, sustainable, Bahamian experiences through their educational animal programs, nature walking tours, Segway safaris, fun-filled family beach day and adults-only VIP beach day.
Writer: Jessica Robertson