Bosun Megan Venter of S/Y Shakti is in the midst of launching her upcoming website, Aloha Yachties, which was inspired by the success of Girls on Deck, a WhatsApp group she started in October 2020 that caters to female deck crew. Soon after leaving a deck/tender driving position in Dubai as the only female deckhand in a fleet in UAE with about 500 crew, she created the group, which now has 200 girls and four inspirational captains always giving advice and more.
“...My services are about accepting and helping everyone in the superyachting community by having a loving, trustworthy and peaceful approach.”
Although she started the WhatsApp group on October 29, 2020, her website Aloha Yachties is still in development. Her website features crew profiles. “This is the direct definition of ‘Aloha,’” she says. “Aloha is the Hawaiian word for love, affection, peace, compassion, and mercy, that is commonly used as a simple greeting, but has a deeper cultural and spiritual significance to native Hawaiians,” she says. “This is most certainly something I want to stand for. My services are about accepting and helping everyone in the superyachting community by having a loving, trustworthy and peaceful approach.” Even as she works on the website — where she’ll provide a paid service to create CV and cover letters — she’s working on completing her OOW modules.
The WhatsApp group has gained attention from crew agencies and women all over the world, with now a few captains, chief officers, and a crew agent posting positions for females. Since gaining social media traction within the industry, 30-plus deckies have been employed from the job offerings she’s posted. Although two crew agencies have contacted her, wanting to buy all the contacts, she declined both offers.
“I decided to work towards developing my own crew agency, for I am passionate and protective of the community I have created,” she says. “For instance, ISWAN and myself have helped three girls get out of uncomfortable situations on board vessels. I want to continue on helping the girls and give them the guidance to not only get a deck position, but to always stand up for their rights and not get treated in ways you cannot imagine.”
Venter’s motivation stems from a horrifying incident when she was sexually harassed, and more, by her bosun. “The reason why I created this community and why I have such a strong, protective passion over my brand is because I went through a terrible experience in the fleet I was in. I would like to make [others] aware … of the realities in the yachting industry to help protect the girls,” she says. “I was sexually harassed, and more, by my bosun.”
That’s why she was moved to create a community that can protect each other. “ISWAN and several girls that soon felt like family supported me during the difficult time I experienced,” she says. “I soon realized that I wasn’t the only female deckhand that has gone through a terrifying experience, and I wanted other girls to know that I am there for them.”
On a daily basis, girls inbox her about wanting to be on deck but they are extremely scared of challenges that may arise in a male-dominant department. “If your passion lies in becoming a deckhand, you can contact me on my Instagram handles: @the.saffa.deckhand, @girls.ondeck, or you can email me at email@example.com to become part of this community.”
This column is taken from the August 2021 issue of Dockwalk.