Plotting her course: Newfoundland Captain is among the First Women to take on the Great Lakes

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In the male-dominated maritime shipping industry, Capt. Charlene Munden is making her mark. She’s balancing a job that takes her away from home for months at a time as well as raising a newborn.

A new era has dawned. From Jean de Baie, Newfoundland, Capt. Charlene Munden, is making history commanding the MV Tim S. Dool, a freighter ship operated by Algoma Central that transports goods and cargo along the St. Lawrence Seaway. Her ship, the size of four hockey rinks, is navigated by Capt. Munden through the Great Lakes, canals, and locks filled with water to raise the ship in sections over 180 metres above sea level. She is one of the vessel’s three women. Women comprise just 2 percent of the world’s 1.2 million seafarers.

Capt. Munden, a graduate of the Marine Institute, worked as the first mate for seven years before being promoted to Captain in 2017 and is a shining example of how women navigate home and working lives. In October 2020, James Coady Munden was welcomed to her and her partner Mark.

She is under 40 years of age, highly educated and esteemed by her fellow sailors. Some of the improvements to encourage more women in this position would have to be worked out is for business leaders looking to fix the shortage by hiring more workers like Munden by providing shorter shifts at sea and more flexibility for those seeking to balance work and family. It’s far from rare in Newfoundland and Labrador for one partner to leave the province for long periods of time for work. In this family, the roles are reversed…Charlene leaves home for work and her partner Mark works at the local grocery store. Charlene and Mark live next door to her parents where she was raised with her brother.

Master James Coady Munden may just follow in his Mother footsteps some day down the road.

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About Author

Kathy is the owner of Kirk Scuba Gear, a passionate Scuba Diver, Ocean Advocate and Managing Editor of The Scuba News Canada

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