Meet Sahar Al Rasti, UAE's First Female Ship Captain

Sahar Al Rasti is the first Emirati woman to work as a captain in the Abu Dhabi Maritime Services Company (Sven), a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Ports. She passed the qualification program for captains for ships under 24 meters, and managed within six months to sail for more than 1300 hours. She is also the first Emirati woman who passed the International Law Course on Maritime Aid and Maneuvers Level I and II in the Middle East.

About Her Journey and Career

Al Rasti started her journey in the world of ships and seas in 2015 while working in the ports of Abu Dhabi as an administrative assistant, and then moved to the role of coordinator of shipping services to be the first Emirati woman to touch on that area.

The captain is very passionate about her job, and craves to learn new things, as she says, "I love the world of sailing, and have an increasing passion for the profession. I want to explore this area and discover the secrets of maritime navigation, the size of ships and how they float. I want to know more and more everyday about the art of command and maritime laws that are taken to the safety of maritime traffic."

Her career aspirations include running a factory one day for the maintenance of ships. Al-Rasti also wants others to learn as well, as she hopes in the future to be able to providing training opportunities for UAE nationals in this distinguished field. and form a UAE cadre that recognizes the importance of this industry.

About Her Challenges

Al-Rasti always emphasizes confidence and patience in this trade. Her first practical lesson came in the form of mother nature’s wrath, as she was hit with fervent winds while she was sailing once.  It was difficult to control the ship because of the height and strength of the waves that hit it from all sides, but she was able to get out of the experience safely with lessons that accompany her to this day.

"We have succeeded in mastering high degrees of calmness and confidence. That’s what you need to carry out your tasks to the fullest. You need to consider the provision of security and safety elements for all crew and passengers of your ship, in order to get them to their desired destination. You also need to be quick on your feet, intuitive, and know how to have an immediate response in emergency situations. All while taking into account the application of all navigational laws and compliance with international safety for shipping safety standards."

About Her Take on Gender Equality in the Field

Al-Rasti strongly advocated for women to enter this field if they would like to. "It is a challenge, but not just for women for all genders. You’re required to be there from the earliest mornings, with the long hours at sea stuck under the rays of direct sun and high humidity. Regardless, if you love it, it’ll be worth it. My family opposed the idea of ​​me joining at the beginning, but my father's belief in me and support has encouraged me to continue and succeed."

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