Ellsworth Woman Proving Women Can Fish Even Facing a 35-Foot Rogue Wave
Brittany Finch had no idea what she was getting into.
Brittany moved to Maine from Pennsylvania about a year ago. She lives in the Ellsworth area and decided to challenge herself with fishing. She's 33-years-old and has always challenged herself. She was a machine operator back in PA working in a foundry in the core room. That's molding metal and is a very male-dominated industry. She chooses these jobs to prove women are strong and able, which is a big reason why she chose fishing.
She started lobstering/groundfishing after working at a Co-Op. She's only been on a lobster boat for a couple of months. It's been a struggle as a woman, but also an incredible adventure. For nine days she went ground fishing and of those days, most of the time the weather was deplorable. She got video to prove that it was hard to just walk most times. After this trip, she knows two things. That she's not sure groundfishing is for her and that she is wicked proud of herself!
These videos show a glimpse into how horrid the weather was! Brittany says,
You can never truly understand what living offshore is like until you go and do it... anyway I'm not sure if ground fishing is for me but I didn't give up, and we head back out in a few days, so I will just take it from there. I'm extremely proud of myself! Oh!!! And we hit a 30 to 35 foot rogue wave, the boat went completely vertical. At least that's what the captain says. If you ask me, it was a good 50 feet and the boat did a back flip...
Trying out this new career in the middle of winter made it even harder. Between the cold, wind, and high seas, it's definitely a learning curve at first and still presents its lessons.
That's just the weather. Then there is some sexism to fight in a male-dominated industry. To get started Brittany asked how to get on a boat and a few people came forward. Most of the fishermen encourage women and think they are capable, but some of them make it very clear women are unwanted.
Here's my advice to fishermen and lobstermen - Brittany is fierce, determined, hard-working, and not going away. Embrace her and any other woman who wants to prove that they have what it takes. Got get 'em, Brittany!