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More Female Boat Captains Making Waves in Northeast Ohio

Making waves in a hobby typically dominated by men.

Statistics show that in 2020, women shopping for boats increased by a whopping 75%.

That sharp increase has not surprisingly led to more females becoming boat captains and instructors.

Good Morning Cleveland anchor Mike Brookbank hit the water with one Brecksville woman to break down some reasons why we’re seeing this trend.

Cruising down the calm Rocky River on a sun-filled summer day brings back fond memories for Liz Gawelek.

“My parents were boaters. It’s fun, it’s peaceful,” said Gawelek.

As for who prepped the boat and kept it on course during those excursions?

“You know growing up, my dad did it all,” said Gawelek.

But now, decades later, Gawelek finds herself at the helm of a boat as the captain.

“There was a point where I said, you know, there’s no reason I can’t do this. I think there was just, you know, breaking those stereotypes,” said Gawelek.

Stereotypes are being sunk in a big way.

“The number of women is definitely increasing,” said Susan Scott.

Scott is with Freedom Boat Club, which owns and maintains a vessel fleet, some docked at the Emerald Necklace Marina.

“I started boating and sailing with my mom and dad when I was seven. I got my first boat when I was 13,” said Scott.

Scott said the number of women joining the club wanting to be captains is up 5-to-10%.

“I think times are changing and that women feel empowered and feel that they are able to do it all by themselves,” said Scott.

Currently, female captains comprise 35% of the club’s 400 members.

“I think that it’s, it’s fabulous that women are getting out here, and being independent and doing their own thing and enjoying it. It’s such a pleasure to get out and captain your own vessel,” said Gawelek.

But Gawelek didn’t get here on her own.

“Boating can be a dangerous situation if you’re not trained correctly,” said Gawelek.

Freedom Boat Club provides the initial training needed to safely set sail and offers continual support should any issues or concerns arise.

“I was a rider on a boat, I was a passenger and now I feel very comfortable doing it myself,” said Gawelek.

Source : News5



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