Women Rule the Waterfront

by: Brian Bushard

photography by: Cary Hazlegrove

Sheila Lucey joined the U.S. Coast Guard fresh out of high school, looking for a short-term gig before she could begin a permanent career. A couple months later, she realized the Coast Guard could be that career, but it would mean overcoming adversity for three decades as a woman in a traditionally male-dominated field.

She rose through the Coast Guard to become the first woman in its history to reach the rank of surfman. She was also the first female senior chief at Coast Guard Station Brant Point, and is now the island’s first woman harbormaster.

Christina Martin, dockmaster, and Sheila Lucey, harbormaster.

“Now, there are still very few women harbormasters,” said Lucey, who has been in the job since 2015. “The career field is
very male-dominated, the one that I chose.”

Christina Martin took a summer job at the Nantucket Boat Basin the day after she graduated from Boston College, never expecting to turn a degree in psychology into a yearround job in another traditionally male-dominated field on the water.

“It’s rare seeing women harbormasters and dockmasters,” said Martin, dockmaster at the Nantucket Boat Basin. “There are more coming into the industry but it’s not the norm.”

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