Deborah Doane Dempsey ’76 picture

Deborah Doane Dempsey ’76

Columbia River Bar Pilot


  • B.A., University of Vermont, 1971
  • B.S., Maine Maritime Academy, 1976 (D) First female graduate of any maritime or service academy.
  • Ph.D. (honoris causa), Maine Maritime Academy, 1994

Career Highlights:

  • Exxon Co., USA, Third Mate
  • Lykes Bros. S.S. Co., Third Mate, Second Mate, Chief Mate, Master
  • First female Master on international voyages
  • Served during the Persian Gulf war
  • Navigator, Newport-Bermuda Sailing Race, US Women’s Challenge Team
  • Pilot Commissioner, Oregon Board of Maritime Pilots
  • Director, Bellingham Bay Community Boating Center
  • Co-author, “The Captain’s a Woman, Tales of a Merchant Mariner”
  • Featured in PBS documentary “Shipping Out: The Story of American Seafaring Women”

Distinguished Service:

  • Received the U.S. Navy Meritorious Service Award for Public Service
  • Received the Seamen’s Church Institute Lifesaving Award
  • Received Reader’s Digest “Heroes for Today” award
  • Received “A Thousand Thanks” award (local hero to our children)