Molly Kool

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Myrtle "Molly" Kool
Molly Kool, the first woman in, North America, to qualify to be a deep sea captain, in 1937 (cropped).jpg
Molly Kool, in 1937
Born(1916-02-23)February 23, 1916
DiedFebruary 25, 2009(2009-02-25) (aged 93)
Resting placeHerring Cove, Fundy National Park
NationalityCanadian / American
Known forFirst female sea captain in North America[1]
Spouse(s)Ray Blaisdell, John Carney

Myrtle 'Molly' Kool (February 23, 1916 – February 25, 2009)[2][3] was a Canadian sea captain. She is recognized as being one of the first North American registered female sea captains or ship master.[4] She was the first female Master Mariner in Canada.


Early life[edit]

She was born in Alma, New Brunswick, the daughter of Myrtle Anderson and Paul Kool, a Dutch sailor. She grew up sailing, eventually becoming captain of Jean K, a 21-metre (69 ft) scow owned by her father.


At 21, she joined the Merchant Marine School in Saint John, New Brunswick She was the only woman to do so. On April 19, 1939, she graduated and received her Master Mariner's papers from the Merchant Marine Institution in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. As a result, a line in the Canadian Shipping Act had to be amended to read "he or she." Her father turned the title to the scow over to her and she captained it for five years, working mainly the pulp and paper trade in the Bay of Fundy.

Later life and death[edit]

In 1944, after her ship caught fire,[5] she left life at sea to marry Ray Blaisdell of Bucksport, Maine. Blaisdell died and she remarried, to John Carney of Orrington, Maine.[6] She eventually retired fully after losing both her legs to a vascular disease.

In 2003, a sailing ship was named in her honour. A monument to her accomplishment was erected near the wharf in Alma. Scheduled in 2011, the home she grew up in is being rebuilt with the original remains and an exhibit is coming to the entrance of Fundy National Park.

She spent her remaining years in a seniors care home in Bangor, Maine. She died from pneumonia in a hospital in Bangor. Her ashes were scattered on the Bay of Fundy at Herring Cove, near her birthplace.[7]

The Canadian Coast Guard named a new ship after her as CCGS Captain Molly Kool in 2018.


  1. ^ Welldon, Christine (2011). Molly Kool: Captain of the Atlantic. Nimbus Publishing.
  2. ^ Wallace, Kate (February 27, 2009). "Legendary captain Molly Kool dies at 93". Saint John Telegraph-Journal. pp. A1–A2. Retrieved 2009-02-27.
  3. ^ Fox, Margalit (2009-03-02). "Molly Kool, 93, a Pioneer of the Coastal Waters, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-03-03.
  4. ^ Baird, Donal M. (2001). "Last days of Sail". Women at Sea in the Age of Sail. Nimbus. pp. 2, 215. ISBN 1-55109-267-0.
  5. ^ "Albert County Heritage 25 - Molly Kool". Albert County Historical Society Museum. Retrieved 2009-02-27.
  6. ^ ""Molly Kool" Carney of Alma New Brunswick the first woman Sea Captain in North America". June 30, 2007. Retrieved 2009-02-27.
  7. ^ "Capt. Molly Kool's ashes spread over Bay of Fundy". CBC News. July 6, 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-06.

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