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The Anderson Ferry has an all-female crew for the first time in 203 years

Posted at 5:42 PM, Mar 09, 2020

For the first time in more than 200 years, the crew of the Anderson Ferry is just as historic as the ferry itself.

The West Side staple has guided people and cars across the Ohio River for as long as many can remember. Now, the crew running the boat is an all-female one, for the first time.

"In this industry, I guess you would say you don't really see a lot of girls doing this job anyway," said Aubrey Hess, deckhand for the Anderson Ferry. "And so for it to be two of us running the show, it's pretty cool."

Hess came on board the team a year ago, following in the footsteps of her father and grandfather, who both worked for the ferry.

At the helm of the boat is Brenna Karst, who joined the crew three years ago. Back then, she just needed a job, but when she impressed bosses and customers, she landed a full-time gig as the ferry's operator.

"When I got hired, the bridge was down," said Karst. "So they just needed help. And so I was just temporary, and just ended up asking me if I wanted to get my license, and I didn't even really think about it."

Last fall, she earned that 100-ton masters license.

"They're like 'Is that girl running the boat?'" said Hess. "And we're like 'It's a whole girl's crew.' That's awesome ... this was going to be a temporary job kind of, but actually it's turning out to be maybe my career."

The historic ferry is now shaping the future of the all-female crew, as Hess begins to eye a license herself while Captain Karst mans the helm. The pair spend most days on the ferry working together, and they've gathered plenty of fans as they transport folks across the Ohio River each day.