‘Don’t let inexperience hold you back’

Profile – Becoming a Mariner

Hunter Williams
Moran Towing, Mate
Hunter Williams was working on a career in the nursing field when she heard about an opening at Moran Towing in her native Baltimore. She had no maritime experience but grew up on the water and worked at her family’s marina in Middle River, Md. 

Williams, 24, applied and was hired in 2019 as a deck hand. After studying and receiving her credentials, in May of 2022 she earned her Mate 1600-ton Inland license. A few months later, Moran promoted her to a mate position. She is currently training on the company’s three Baltimore-based tractor tugs.

“I like that we do a variety of jobs,” she said in a recent interview. “We do ship handling, occasionally docking and undocking barges, escorting ships, as well as other jobs that may require a tug. I enjoy my job. It allows me to be outside, on the water, and test different skill sets I have learned and continue to improve on a daily basis.”

Looking back, Williams admits she “sort of fell into” a tugboat career. But she worked hard to earn her license and prove she can do the work. “What is most rewarding is the position I have now and being capable of doing the job and doing it well,” she said. “Being a female in the maritime industry, a career I never thought could be an opportunity, is very rewarding.”

Moran Towing, like most towing companies, has a mix of maritime academy graduates and “hawsepipers” who started at the bottom of the industry and worked their way up. Williams is a proud hawsepiper who learned in part by observing Moran’s veteran mariners.

Her advice to others looking toward a maritime career, especially if they are coming without any prior experience?

“Don’t let inexperience hold you back,” Williams said. “There are many mariners with knowledge and experience who are willing to help you achieve your goal in the maritime industry.”

 Casey Conley