Hi, I’m Kamila, the founding soul behind SeaLight.

SeaLight - a space where every wave carries the echoes of Kamila's story—a story that not only promises change but embodies it.


My origin story of the unlikely mariner starts in Poland, where I was born into a family with no seafaring background whatsoever. We immigrated to Toronto when I was five and endured impoverished circumstances, forcing me to work multiple minimum-wage jobs as soon as I could.

My big break came at the age of 19, when I attended a job fair at the university I attended and found myself trapped in a crowd by a kiosk advertising“Toronto Harbour Tours”. Quelling the claustrophobic urge to run, I instead took the opportunity to introduce myself to the attendant. The conversation that ensued would change the course of my life unimaginably .

Where it all Started

Listed among the positions, the company was looking for tour boat captains. The universal nagging notion of “that could never be me” transformed into “why not me?”. And so, without prior marine experience(having never been on the water) nor operated any heavy machinery (having never driven a car) but fuelled by a determination to break the cycle of limited opportunity, I applied. And I landed the job.

I was immediately enamoured with the high-paced environment of navigating the hectic waterways and the intricacies of boat handling. I outgrew the harbour and tour boats pretty quickly and pursued certification in navigation at a marine institute.


Upon completion, I was hired by the Canadian Coast Guard where, over five years, I worked up the ranks to second-in-command on a buoy-tending/ice-breaking ship on the GreatLakes. I then moved to British Columbia to pursue my ultimate goal: becoming a marine pilot on the coast.

To gain the best experience for the pilotage, I worked in various maritime sectors, from being at the helm of tugboats wrangling rogue-tempered barges in unruly waters to captaining Coast Guard and ro-ro passenger ferries. Today, over 20 years and 30+vessels later, I have completed the Pacific Pilotage Authority’s familiarization program and have qualified to take the exams - the first and only woman to do so.

Well, that’s the tidy version.


For most of my career, I was a “head down, get it done” kinda gal. Sound familiar? I spent decades pushing and blasting barriers in a male-dominated industry, and I ventured into some of the most inhospitable shipboard environments for any self-respecting woman (often as the first, and only woman). Through every stage of the voyage, it was incredibly hard. Constantly navigating the masculine culture was an added obstacle to an already challenging job. I often considered leaving it all behind...and a few times, I did.

The mental stamina and perseverance it took to show up and do the work at times didn’t seem worth it.


But I loved being on the water so much that I refused to let the culture force me out. I had a lot to contribute, and I was really good at it. And so, I armed myself with higher credentials, and just tried harder. I thought, if I just proved myself a bit more, and a bit more, I would be embraced as equal.

When I was three months away from the marine pilotage exams, I had a moment that forced me to pause. Inches from my grasp, a goal I had spent a lifetime building towards, the achievement that I believed was going to change everything for women like me, suddenly, did not seem like it was going to change anything. I was finally going to break into the Big Boys Club...but why? To what end? I was tired and the conversation hadn’t changed. I desperately wanted to believe that at the end of this career progression, I was finally going to have made it. That all those obstacles along the way unique to women in the industry were going to vanish, and my experiences moving forward would be equal to those of my male counterparts.


But, being the first female pilot in British Columbia wasn’t going to change the culture.There are around 400 marine pilots in Canada, fewer than 10 of which are women.Being the next female pilot in the nation was not going to be pivotal. More had to be done and it had to be done starting from the ground up.

I went far and wide to find where I belonged, and I realized that there was nowhere in the industry that I could truly thrive. The world where I should have met my full potential did not exist. If it didn’t exist for me, maybe it didn’t exist for other women.

Maybe I had to create it.


After everything I experienced, I concluded this could not remain the status quo. No more wasted talent, no more misused resources, no more women being forced out by a system not equipped to embrace their potential. Not on my watch.

Globally, women still represent a mere 2% of the seafaring workforce, 1% of which are estimated to be STCW certified. It made me wonder, what tiny fraction of these figures is held by women captains and women chief engineers? And then it dawned on me: the odds of me getting to where I did were infinitesimal.

Enough is enough. The time is now.


It is time we change these odds for all women aspiring, and in, the industry.It is time we remove the inherent limitations and barriers faced by women.It is time we refresh the maritime culture to one where all mariners can thrive at sea, regardless of gender.

It is time we build an industry where each person is valued for their strengths and canauthentically shine.

It is time for SeaLight


Kamila is a professional experienced mariner who is passionate about creating positive change and empowering women in maritime through education, mentoring and support. I have had the opportunity to join Kamila in her initiative to transform the industry. She is willing to tackle difficult topics and have discussions that are long overdue to make the industry more inclusive for  everyone.

Thank You for inspiring change!

Captain Lori Tribbeck,
MV Northern Adventure, British Columbia Ferry Services Inc.

Finally! In SeaLight, an ally and ambassador already connected to - and connecting – global counterpart leaders, sponsors, alliances and associations to act together and increase the 2% ratio. Women need a
beacon – a lead-mark easily seen - to bring together and make concrete change in safety, diversity or growth. In SeaLight, we’ve started.

Joan Feringa,
M.A., Dipl.N.Sc., Founder - ConflictNavigator.com


be the first to knoW about upcoming
insider events