Meet the Chamber: Fena Boyle


In the second of a new series of blogs from the UK Chamber of Shipping, we hear from Policy Manager Fena Boyle in our ‘Meet the Chamber’ blog. Fena joined the UK Chamber of Shipping in 2014 first working with the Merchant Navy Training Board as Training and Careers Manager running the ‘Careers at Sea’ the programme, before moving into the UK Chamber of Shipping as Safety Policy Manager in 2018.

I joined the Merchant Navy in 2005 at the age of 16 and have worked in the industry ever since. I qualified as a Deck Officer at 19 years old and have worked on a variety of different vessels including general cargo, tankers, cruise, Ro-Ro/Ro-Pax ferries, and buoy tenders. I spent 8 and a half years at sea and sailed as Second Mate until 2014. The experience I gained at sea has helped me throughout my time ashore as I have a broad understanding of different vessel types and their operations and know the reality of how hard it can be to be a seafarer.

My first role ashore was working for a maritime security company, but three months in I was made redundant and I was lucky enough to get a job at the MNTB. In this role, I was able to bring new life to the ‘Careers at Sea’ and ‘Careers at Sea and Beyond’ brands. We had 400 ambassadors who were in schools across the country nearly every day promoting careers at sea, we created an award-winning promotional video for the Merchant Navy ‘To Sea or Not To Sea’  and by assisted newly qualified officers and those looking to come ashore by checking their CVs and understanding their issues (something that I can resonate with having done it myself).

My role at the Chamber covers a range of safety policy topics including Ro-Ro Vehicle Deck Safety, offshore renewables, the Bridge Resource Management Task Force and the Chamber’s Safety Culture work to name just a few. I chair the Safety Culture Working Group and have, with the help of members, developed the ‘Safety Culture Charter’  which aims to help reduce accidents and incidents at sea. So far, 30 companies have adopted the charter, impacting nearly 100,000 seafarers on over 1,700 vessels worldwide and the improvement of safety culture within the maritime industry is well underway. Last year I organized a successful 2-day Safety Culture Seminar where the industry was able to come together and share best practices and lessons learned at which we also heard from the next generation of seafarers to highlight the importance of the work. This work is an ongoing project for the Chamber and encourages collaboration across the industry.  

 Biggest success at the Chamber?

I have been lucky enough to be part of so many projects and notable pieces of work, but the Safety Culture Charter must be the biggest success in terms of impact across the industry. Being able to work in collaboration with members to develop a document that suits many companies and can be (and is being) implemented is something I am proud of. 

 Last book you read?

The last book read… I’m doing 2 different reading challenges, so I read a lot of books (I am on book 10 of the year so far!) but the last one I read was ‘Becoming’ by Michelle Obama. I don’t tend to read a lot of autobiographies, but this was well worth the time.

Favorite holiday destination?

I loved New York and Vegas, but Italy is amazing! Who doesn’t love pasta?!

One thing that would surprise you about me…I was a record holder in stand-up paddle boarding (along with loads of other people who completed the record for the most people stand up paddle boarding for a mile at the same time). This is a surprise because anyone who knows me knows I hate water and sports, and particularly water sports!

The person you most admire and why?

 It was always Elizabeth I growing up. A strong woman who knew her mind… and certainly not to be messed with! 

 Interested in finding out more about our Safety Culture work or the Charter? Contact Fena here