A Rising Tide

Michele Kurelich with US Powerboat Training


There is a continuously growing number of women in the marine and boating industry encompassing everything related to the ocean, ships, and navigation in positions as seafarers, retailers and manufacturers, boat dealers, recreational boaters, executives, and many other roles. Right here in Wilmington, three women are making their own waves in the industry.

  • A Rising Tide: Read more about Michele Kurelich below
  • Office with a View: Click here to read more about Deborah Conrad below
  • Eye on the Prize: Click here to read more about Kerry Dewberry

MICHELE KURELICH is a boat captain for US Powerboat Training. Growing up in Virginia, Kurelich boated with her brothers, promising to clean the boat if she could go along for the entire day.

She introduced her children to boating twenty years later and in 2017 purchased her own boat.

Kurelich attended US Powerboat Training as a student to gain confidence in operating a boat by herself. She now holds a U.S. Coast Guard captain’s license and certification from US Powerboat Training and teaches courses in powerboat handling and search and rescue including courses for couples as well as ones for women.

Students come from along the East Coast and as far away as England. Kurelich also teaches powerboat courses as a member of the nonprofit BoatUS Foundation. When not teaching, she runs a water taxi service between Deep Point Marina and Bald Head Island.

“There has been a tremendous surge in new powerboat owners in the last year,” Kurelich says. “More people are looking for outdoor activities. Our mission is to make training and safety a bigger part of boat sales and marketing for new boat owners.”

Kurelich, whose passion-to-career transformation enables her to spend every day on the water adds, “Meeting new students who don’t have any experience and watching them confidently dock the boat at the end of the day is empowering. For me personally, boating is about living in the moment.

“You are only focused on what is going on around you,” she says. “You aren’t thinking about the past or worrying about tomorrow. You are just living in the present!”

To view more of photographer Aris Harding’s work, go to arisharding.com.

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Categories: Features