You are currently reading Issue 96: International Women's Day, March 2018

Connecting women and opportunity

Womanthology is a digital magazine and professional community powered by female energy and ingenuity.

Connecting women and opportunity

Womanthology is a digital magazine and professional community powered by female energy and ingenuity.

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Aye-aye, Skipper! Joy McGlinchey, Thames MBNA Clippers Captain, tells Womanthology about leading an all-female crew to #PressForProgress on International Women’s Day

Joy McGlinchey is a captain on Thames MBNA Clippers, having worked her way up from deckhand, to mate, before becoming captain and she is also an international safety management auditor. 

Joy-McGlinchey - Thames MBNA Clippers
Joy McGlinchey

On 8th March 2018 MBNA Thames Clippers onboard crew will be led by Joy McGlinchey, who in 2015, her fifth year working for the river operator, became the youngest high-speed captain to work on the Thames. With an all-female fleet control and three of the four female captains on the Thames working for the business, MBNA Thames Clippers hopes the activity will highlight the many opportunities available to women keen to pursue a career in the marine sector. The company is passionate about continuing to challenge the ratios in what remains a male-dominated sector.

From deckhand to captain

My passion for working on the water began at 15 years old, when my dad handed me a newspaper article about a female crew member working for MBNA Thames Clippers. After reading about her experience in the marine industry and with the company, I was hooked.

After finishing school, I first got started working on the River Thames when I joined the Thames RIB Experience, a high-speed boating excursion set up by my dad in 2008. There, I held varying roles in the business ranging from marketing to dry docking. 

In 2010, I joined MBNA Thames Clippers as a deckhand. From there, I served as a mate for three years before becoming a successful candidate for the MBNA Thames Clippers in-house training programme, working towards becoming a captain. The training programme helped me obtain my Boatmasters’ Licence and other relevant endorsements to carry passengers and work on the Thames.

In 2015, my hard work paid off when I completed my exams and a month later my dreams came true when I set sail as a captain for the vessel.

Why we must all #PressForProgress on International Women’s Day

Joy-McGlinchey-MBNA-Thames-ClippersThis year to mark International Women’s Day I am proud to be skippering an all-female crew on board MBNA Thames Clippers. Hopefully I’ll inspire more female crew into the marine industry.

My advice to anyone that is in my shoes is if you have a dream, go and get it! If you are unsure on what you may need, find someone in that position to give you advice and guidance on how you can achieve your goals. Be prepared to start from the bottom and to work your way up. I believe that hard work and determination have been the recipe for my success.

Future plans

With MBNA Thames Clippers continuously growing and expanding, the company has created new jobs and positions both afloat as senior masters and ashore in office management. The opportunities for internal progression will always be available due to the company’s commitment to internal succession planning and developing from within.

In the future, I can’t wait to continue growing with the company. With the newest addition to the fleet, the high-tech Hunt Class vessels, I’m looking forward to embarking on another challenge soon.


Main image – Joy (far left) will be joined by Ellie Wooldridge (mate – pictured middle left) and Emma Lewis (relief mate – pictured middle right) on the RB1 route from Woolwich (Royal Arsenal) to Battersea Power Station, whilst barista Sitarah Bailey-Thompson (far right) completes the all-female crew.

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