This Month’s Featured Partner: Women Aboard

Warning: I’m about to generalize: Women and men have different concerns about getting started in boating. It’s been my experience at hundreds of boat shows and other events, that couples who are getting into boating for the first time often ask a series of direct questions relating to the safety and affordability of boats, always considering the family. But separate men and women for a few minutes, and they ask completely different questions. Men want to know about performance and access, engine technology and hull design. Women ask about which boat is functionally appropriate for the family, and they want to know about skill sets required to drive the boat. Perhaps they ask these questions due to concerns about safety. Safety is a concern for everyone onboard, and a second captain is an invaluable safety net. But, one of the greatest benefits of boating is its tendency to empower those onboard to explore. And women don’t want to be left out.

Maria Russell, founder of WOMEN ABOARD, an international network of very active boating enthusiasts, noticed that a lot of the women loved to gather on the dock or up at the ship’s store and share stories and tips at Island Moorings Marina in Port Arkansas, Texas, where she discovered boating. She wondered if a networking group could exist for women aboard everywhere, utilizing a monthly newsletter as the main means of dialogue.

After working with a Louisiana newsletter for female boaters, she started the national newsletter and program now known as WOMEN ABOARD. The newsletter contains a wealth of information with everything from recipes and voyaging stories to cruising tips and letters - and tips on learning to boat. WOMEN ABOARD has continued to grow through the years, and the effects of this networking organization for women in boating are far-reaching. With members in nearly 20 countries worldwide, the community remains true to its central purpose: building community among enthusiasts. Information is shared via the newsletter, the website, and personally when Sea Sisters (members) meet. Chapters are continually being started in towns across the United States and abroad. These women are empowering themselves to share and learn with one another.

Many husbands passionate about boats convince their wives to join Women Aboard to get them interested in boating. In fact, men are often the first to hear about the association and get their wives involved. Women Aboard gives these and all ladies a network to turn to for advice, guidance and support.

The phenomenal growth of WOMEN ABOARD is a testimonial to the power of networking and the value of community. Boating really does provide a "lifestyle" for those you want to join. Despite a steadily growing membership, Sea Sisters experience a true kinship that resembles a "family" more than an organization.

This organization spends no money on advertising, figuring that with a nearly all female membership, word of mouth will do the trick.

Women who spend time boating or who would like to do so will benefit by joining other WOMEN ABOARD to share ideas and thoughts, and to learn from one another...


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