Marine News from the Great Lakes

Classic Corner: Women In Classic Boating

Published: Friday, April 12, 2019
By: Captain Dennis J. Mykols

In the Spring Issue (Mar/Apr) 2019, we focused on “Women in Boating”. In the world of classic boating, women have a long history of leadership in the hobby of antique and classic boats.

As many of our readers know, the Antique and Classic Boating Society, (ACBS) is made up of 53 Chapters, each with their own board of directors. In 2019, there will be 64 women volunteering their time on various board positions, helping shape their local classic boating direction and policy. There are 13 chapters with two female board members, three chapters with three each, and four chapters with four women on their board. Two chapters are led by a Madam President, the Glacier Lakes and Southern California Chapters. Together, these women represent 37 chapters out of the 53, or an impressive 70% of the chapters!

On the ACBS International Board of Directors, we will find four more women volunteering their time to help steer the organization’s mission. All in all, we have 4,890 women registered as members in the 2019 ACBS Roster! These numbers show that women throughout America and Canada are very active in the antique and classic boating world.

There are many women who have built their own classic boats, such as Roberta Hesy, who built her Glen-L runabout, or Andrea Frost, who built a Barracuda kit boat as well as several others. Then, there is young Judith Deweerd who built her own 10-foot dinghy. All are very talented women in boating, for sure!

Many women in classic boating own their boats and have them on display at various classic boat shows. One boat that stands out – head and shoulders above all the rest – is Susan Tenney’s pink-colored Century Cardel named Tickled Pink.

Many successful stories of women begin with enrolling in boat building schools across the country.

“ACBS supports five boat building schools in the US with $5,000 scholarships to each school, every year,” commented Shannon Knight, chair of the ACBS Scholarship Committee. “I’ve personally met two students who received scholarships from ACBS and hearing in their own words how their lives were changed by the opportunity the ACBS Scholarship provided for them, made a tremendous impact on me. Those students are graduating with the skills to restore YOUR boat! In this way, ACBS is doing real work to perpetuate the hobby, passion, and history of our beloved boats so that we can all continue to enjoy classic boating.”

Many ACBS Chapters sponsor youth boat building projects, and numerous times you will find young girls, with tools in hand, building a kit project boat elbow to elbow among the boys. These programs help instill the desire for many young ladies to become leaders in the boating industry.

Women can be found at the helm of many marinas throughout the Great Lakes region, as either owners or general managers of the operation, such as Carrie Van Dera at the Reef Point Marina, DeDe Anderson at Mullett Lake Marina, Patti Murdock of Howe Marine, Rae Ellen at Northport Bay Boat Yard, and Paula Jones of Wave Point Marina, just to name a few… In fact, my wife, Ronnie, was a co-owner of our marina for ten years and ran all the inside operations.

So, there you have it. Women can be found in so many aspects of the classic boating world. I could include so many more examples, but I ran out of room. However, I think you can see there are many women that enjoy all the same facets of boating proving it’s not just a man’s hobby.

This article first appeared in the Spring Issue (Mar/Apr) 2019 of Great Lakes Scuttlebutt magazine.

tags: Antique & Classic Boats, Women in Boating

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