Women in Maritime: Daseul Kim
This week in Host’s “Women in Maritime” series, we’re featuring Boarding Agent Daseul Kim, who's based at Host Agency’s office in Baltimore, MD.
“As a boarding agent, I help ships that aren’t familiar with U.S. ports of call,” she explains. “My job is to bring the vessel in and out safely, efficiently and cost effectively, while overseeing all involved.”
“I’m the person everyone is looking for,” she laughs. “I’m the person who needs to have all the answers all the time.”
Daseul grew up in a landlocked city in Korea. She first visited the United States as an exchange student, spending her junior year of high school in Georgia and her senior year in upstate New York. “I lived nowhere near the water,” she says. “I had never been on a ship or even a boat.”
Everything changed when a college recruiter from SUNY Maritime visited her school. “A maritime career sounded like an incredible opportunity. I applied to SUNY and never looked back.” The school is located in The Bronx, NY, on a peninsula in the East River. While living on campus, she began experiencing everything the water had to offer, working onboard the school’s training ship and even joining the school’s sailing team.
In July 2018, Daseul became a boarding agent trainee with Host Agency, and she was promoted to boarding agent five months later. She says problem-solving skills are necessary in her role. “You have to find solutions quickly,” she explains. “Time is money and everything is urgent.”
Daseul says the training at Host is much more involved than other ship agencies. “Host has been able to provide training in terminal operations, logistics, and accounting too. It provides a greater understanding of what we do, and that’s important.” Training is critical, because confidence and knowledge are essential characteristics of a successful boarding agent, she explains. “As a 24-year-old boarding agent talking to a 70-year-old captain about my solution for his ship, I better know what I’m talking about.”
Her favorite thing about her job is the people. “I love working with so many different nationalities and age groups,” she says. “That’s what made me come to the U.S. as an exchange student in the first place. I wanted to meet people from around the world.”
Her advice to other women: “The maritime industry may seem intimidating from the outside, but once you are part of this incredible group of hard-working people, everyone will support you along the way. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, because there’s always something to learn.”
When she’s not working, she enjoys extreme water sports with her husband, Joel. She and Joel met in college and now live on a boat in the Baltimore Harbor.