Got a drive to navigate the deep waters in a historic vessel?
Well, those dreams don’t have to walk the plank.
Lady Washington, an authentic 18th century vessel and the state’s official ship, is flying all flags in hopes of attracting a new batch of “mateys” to swab the deck and hoist the sales.
Grays Harbor Historical Seaport, the nonprofit that operates the Lady Washington, has felt the punch of a maritime industry battered by a workforce shortages.
“We have a tremendous history of training our own Captains,” operations director Caitlin Stanton said. “We create a lot of new mariners for the industry. Right now, many of our younger Captains have gone to cruise ships, ferries, and tugs, and we are seeking folks willing to take on the challenge of sailing an 18th century vessel.”
The ship is a replica of the first American ship to sail to the west coast, giving rise to many of our regional names such as Grays Harbor and the Columbia River. The Lady Washington has made stops in the Tri-Cities, last docking in Pasco in August 2015.
The seaport is getting creative in its approach to recruitment.
“For the first time, we are taking out paid ads in maritime publications, and have even posted on Craigslist,” shares Executive Director Brandi Bednarik. “Word of mouth and training have worked well for us in the past, but hiring has become more competitive and we’re having to do more marketing to reach people. Believe it or not, we’ve gotten several great crew members from Craigslist ads.”