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Scarlett Barnett-Smith scoops the Nautilus Bevis Minter Award recognising maritime cadets

6 June 2024

Freshly qualified Officer of the Watch (OOW) unlimited officer Scarlett Barnet-Smith has won this year's Bevis Minter Award, which recognises outstanding cadet achievements in overcoming difficulties.

The award, sponsored by Nautilus International, was presented at the 2024 Maritime UK awards in Belfast this week.

Ms Barnett-Smith, now a third officer with DFDS, recently completed her deck cadetship at Warsash Maritime School where she was sponsored by the Port of London Authority (PLA) and Trinity House. Before that she worked on the Thames for three years as a PLA marine service apprentice and obtained a Boatmasters licence.

She recently qualified with an HND in Nautical Science and an Officer of the Watch unlimited licence and became a third officer.

'I am so grateful to have achieved this award. Unfortunately, throughout my cadetship I went through some very challenging times, however I never gave up. I received a lot of support from Nautilus, PLA, Trinity House, Just be Maritime and Warsash Maritime School,' said Ms Barnett-Smith.

She also explained that while she had unfortunately received a lot of negative criticism on how she promotes the industry through social media, it had never stopped her.

'I will continue to promote the maritime sector and my journey and my career progress – with the goal of changing the stereotypes of a seafarer. If you want to become a seafarer it doesn’t matter what gender you are, where you come from and what you sound like. You can do it. Never give up.'

The day she received her first signature as third officer in her discharge book at the end of her first trip was a 'standout' moment she will 'remember for ever', as she recalls in one social media post.

Learning to sail from a young age on a family boat led her to think about a nautical career. First starting as an apprentice on the River Medway, Ms Barnett-Smith then moved to the PLA who she credits with being 'massively supportive her in her decision to go to sea'.

She has also been a passionate advocate for women to enter a career at sea through her social media posts on her training progress and career highlights so far where she has racked up quite a following.

Warsash Maritime School put her forward for the 2024 award. In a LinkedIn post the Solent University-based school said it had nominated her for her 'fantastic work over the course of her studies to raise the profile and awareness of maritime and the shipping industry, and for being such a successful role model for young women in maritime.'

Now serving with DFDS, Ms Barnett-Smith has had many inspiring experiences while training – activities she actively shared with her social media followers. She was the first female cadet to serve aboard the RRS Sir David Attenborough polar research vessel, and was a flag bearer during the Merchant Navy Medal Ceremony attended by The Princess Royal.

Solent University said it was 'tremendously proud of all that Scarlett and her fellow cadets have achieved over the past three years during what was a challenging period of study.'

The award was originally launched in 1996, to honour past chair of the Nautilus International Council Bevis Minter, who was a passionate advocate of action to safeguard British seafaring skills, and is now run by Maritime UK and sponsored by the Union.