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Captain Deborah D. Dempsey

High School: The Williams School, New London, CT graduated Cum Laude 1976
University of Vermont: graduated 1971 BA in Chemistry
Maine Maritime Academy: graduated Valedictorian 1976 BS in Nautical Science
(first female graduate of any maritime or service academy)

Employment History:
1976‐1977: Exxon Co., USA, Third Mate
1977‐1994: Lykes Bros. S.S. Co., Third Mate, Second Mate, Chief Mate, Master
1994‐present: Columbia River Bar Pilots
License History:
1976: Unlimited Third Mate
1978: Unlimited Second Mate
1981: Unlimited Chief Mate
1984: Unlimited Master
1994: First Class Pilot Columbia River Bar

Significant Events:
1989: First female Master on international voyages on the Ro‐Ro MV Lyra
1990‐1991: Persian Gulf duty with the MV Lyra
1991: Received the US Navy Meritorious Award for Public Service
1992: Navigator, Newport‐Bermuda Sailing Race, US Women’s Challenge Team
1993: Captain of rescue of the MV Lyra adrift off Cape Fear, NC
1993: Subject of “Professional Mariner” article
1993: Received the Seaman’s Church Institute Lifesaving Award – NYC
1993: Received the United Seaman’s Service AOTOS Honored Seamen Award – NYC
1994: Received Honorary Doctor of Science Degree from Maine Maritime Academy
1994: Received American Merchant Marine Seamanship Trophy – USMMA
1994: Subject of “Parade Magazine” article
1994: Participant in “Women Underway” Symposium – USMMA
1994‐1999: Trustee, Board of Trustees, Maine Maritime Academy
1995: Awarded Reader’s Digest “Heroes for Today” article and award
1995: Participant in “Women in Shipping/Navigating to the Top” Conference – WISTA
1997‐2002: Director, Board of Directors, WISTA (Women’s Intl. Ship ‘n Trade Ass.) USA
1997: Co‐author, “The Captain’s a Woman, Tales of a Merchant Mariner”
1998: One of 40 women featured in Jo Giese’s book “A Woman’s Path”
1998‐2000: Served as Secretary/Treasurer of the Columbia River Bar Pilots
1999‐2001: Volunteer, The Community Store, local health food coop – Astoria, OR
1999‐2000: Volunteer, Astor Grade School, 4th grade tutor and lunch buddy – Astoria, OR
2000‐present: Director, Board of Directors, Camp Kiwanilong (Board Chair 2002‐2005) – Astoria, OR
2000‐2005: Pilot Commissioner, Oregon Board of Maritime Pilots
2001: Received “A Thousand Thanks” Award (Local Hero to our children) – Astoria, OR
2006: Featured in PBS documentary “Shipping Out: The Story of American Seafaring Women”
2006: Inducted onto Maine Maritime Academy’s Wall of Honor (only female inductee)
2006‐present: Founding Director, Treasurer and member board of directors, Bellingham Bay
Community Boating Center, Bellingham, WA
2007: Panelist “Women on the Water” Conference, Great Lakes Maritime Academy
2009: Guest Speaker “ Women on the Water” Conference, Maine Maritime Academy
2010: Participant “Women on the Water” Conference, Texas Maritime Academy


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