Catching up with Dawn Riley and America True

America True was the first and last truly coed challenger for the America’s Cup of yachting, in 2000. Now it is a San Francisco foundation for community sailing programs. America True operates out of a waterfront trailer with a couch where founder, Dawn Riley, 45, sometimes sleeps.

The San Francisco Chronicle catches up with sailing legend Dawn Riley.

Read the interview

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What’s it all about?

Picture me standing on a soap box in the middle of a busy marina as you read this post (would be entertaining admit it) and so begins “What’s it all about?”

I have been socially involved in the marine industry for around ten years as a boat owner, consumer and avid supporter of boating waterways, over the last 4 years I have become more interested in joining the industry on a professional level. Through my research I have found some alarming trends and I decided it was time to get involved in turning them around.

The Australian marine industry is worth roughly $2.4 billion per year to our economy and of the total workforce, only 2% (approximately) of people working in the marine industry are women, and apart from several schools advertising sailing training for women, basic mentions on industry websites and the AMC, there is little genuine information, guidance, training or resources that specifically assist women to enter this non-traditional industry.

My primary business is Web Development and Digital Marketing, we (fabulous husband and I) decided to combine this and our passion for boating to develop a marine retail site that will launch later this year (a project which we have been jointly working on for the past 4 years) and it was through this window into the industry that I becameaware of the lack of support and information available to women.

Not only is the marine industry close to my heart, so too is my strong belief in women’s rights, opportunities and abilities to succeed in non-traditional industries. So my ambition is to develop a marine industry specific web site, targeted to women and the opportunities that are available to them within this sector, including education, boating, entertainment, cuisine, career, sport, life, family, business and more.

With the present economic outlook, up skilling will be on the rise and cross industry career research will be undertaken by women who have been made redundant or “let go” in their traditional roles. Creating this portal will assist women in Australia to realise that a broader range of options are open to them and that opportunities exist outside traditional industries, enabling them to transfer their specific qualifications, skills, talent and knowledge, into the marine sector. 

So watch this space and feel free to email, comment, tweet, post, phone, write or whatever tickles your fancy to get the message across – I want to get to know all the amazing women out there who love the marine industry as much as I do and want to start taking positive steps to increasing our presence in, around and on the water!

Lauren