Captain Dani Takes the Helm

Dani McGlashen recently made Sunlover history by becoming the company’s first ever female captain.

At a special surprise ceremony held on Monday 17 June, Dani’s crewmates, husband and friends were invited to witness her receive her Captain’s whites and epaulettes, creating a ground-breaking moment for both Sunlover and the industry as a whole.

Born to navy parents and growing up by the ocean, Dani has the sand and sea in her DNA. “Ever since I was young I have always felt really good and comfortable being on or near the ocean, and I decided early on that I wanted a career in the maritime industry,” she says.

What makes Dani's story particularly inspiring is that while this decision may have come naturally for her, it is traditionally uncommon – with women represent just 4.2 per cent of the marine transport industry’s national workforce.

After spending several years working as a dive instructor in Thailand and on the Great Barrier Reef, Dani’s focus eventually shifted to boat handling and driving. With the support of her employer and mentorship from Sunlover Reef Cruises’ Captains, she enrolled at TAFE Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef International Marine College.

“I was blown away by the college, it is an amazing facility and it has the latest training gear and equipment,” Dani says. “It was great to practice my boat driving skills in the full mission bridge simulator, as it’s a safe environment to troubleshoot problems which could happen in the real-world.“  

Group General Manger, Sharon Sheldrake says that Sunlover is committed to recognising the aspirations of team members and assisting them to develop professionally. “Dani has worked incredibly hard to progress to a Captain’s qualification and we are delighted to be able to assist turning her goals into a reality and setting an example to encourage more women to enter the industry.”

“Dani has long held the respect of her peers and her seniors, with her innate strength, professional acumen and leadership skills making her a natural choice to progress to a position that holds such responsibility."

Clearly an inspiration to other young woman hoping to pursue a similar career path, Dani is quick to give credit to the many people within the industry who are willing to offer their time and advice. “If you want to work in the maritime industry don’t be afraid to ask questions, get some work experience and enrol in training,” she says. “If I can do it anyone can, you’ve just got to give it a go.”