Conquering the Marine Industry: Annaliese Tuttle

Hailing from Queenstown, MD, Annaliese Tuttle was introduced to the marine industry through a humble position in a marine parts room, but she has shown herself to be a true force to be reckoned with. Tuttle now operates the Travelift at Cedar Point Marina on the Eastern Shore of Maryland while living aboard her Islander 30, with her Chesapeake retriever, Goose, all at the age of 21.

Tuttle operating travelift
Tuttle prefers to work in the boatyard rather an behind a desk and says operating the Travelift is empowering.

How did you first get involved with the marine industry?

I grew up on the water, crabbing in canoes, fishing, and water skiing in the Wye River. Any opportunity I had to be on the water, I took. My family had a 15-foot Whaler that we would work on together, and the more I worked on it, the more rewarding taking those simple boat rides became. My first marine-related job was in high school working at Bridges (Restaurant) as a dockhand. Shortly after that, I had a chance to start at Bosun’s Marine as a service coordinator. I was service writing, answering phones, doing parts, and learning all about boats. I found myself drawn to working in the boat yard, moving and hauling boats, more so than being behind a desk. 

What is your current position within the marine industry? 

I am now the Travelift operator at Cedar Point Marina, where I keep track of the vehicle maintenance, forklifts, Travelifts, anything in the yard. I run a crew of four guys, haul boats, powerwash, and bottom paint… we do it all! I point my team in the right direction and assist where I’m needed in the yard, and I also detail on the side with Bunker Marine. 

What do you love about your job?

I like the adrenaline rush of it. When it’s all hectic, there’s nothing else quite like a boat yard… we are all a big family. We all have a mutual understanding of what we’re all doing. The Boulays, the owners of the marina, have been a big resource for me learning how to run the Travelift. They are extremely supportive. There have been a lot of people who have helped me in my journey in the marine industry.

What are the challenging aspects of working in the marine industry?

In summer, it’s the heat! Otherwise, it’s picking up old boats, because you need to pick them up in the right spot. There are different points and different stringers on each boat, so you need to know how it was designed and built. We are working with high-class boats that people have worked really hard for, and we don’t want to damage them. 

Dealing with the “old salt dogs” has also been a challenge. I was competing against men trying to get this job, and at the end of the day, I got it. I really had to work for it and earn my spot. I had guys asking me, “Are you sure you know how to run that?” But now I run the marina and live solo on my own boat. Working in the boat yard is very hard work, but I want to climb the ladder as much as I can. I want to know how everything works in a marina and boatyard and I want to learn every nitty gritty detail that I can, so that one day I can have my own marina.

Tuttle working at marina
Tuttle runs a crew of four guys and operates the Travelift at Cedar Point Marina on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

What has your experience been as a woman working in a boat yard?

There are not many of us in the marine industry. In fact, I have never met another woman who runs a Travelift. Running a Travelift for me is a step in the right direction because it’s very empowering. I’m currently in the process of becoming an apprentice for boat surveying (as there are) only a few female marine surveyors across the world. I also want to get into yacht sales. 

What made you decide to buy a sailboat and become a liveaboard?

I have had a wild ride since I was 18. I figured out that I don’t want to be dependent on anyone or anything. The housing market is insane on Kent Island, so even though I don’t know how to sail, after a year of thinking on it, I decided I was going to buy a sailboat, a 1979 Islander 32, named Sloop du Jour. I renovated the inside, and I’m still working on the wiring. I renamed the sailboat Destination Unknown, because (it) is a metaphor for my life. I go where the wind takes me. I really love it so far, but it’s very cold during the winter and the condensation is insane. Other than that, it’s given me a whole new level of freedom that I love. It’s a big learning and growing experience. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Tuttle on boat deck
Annaliese Tuttle grew up on the water, crabbing in canoes, fishing , and water skiing in the Wye River. 

Do you ever have time to get out on the water for fun?

I find a way to get out any way I can on anyone’s boat! My neighbor, who is a liveaboard as well, goes on adventures with me all the time. My happy place is being on the water—fishing? Yes, I’m in. Tubing? I’m in. Need me to drive the boat? I’m in.

Tell me about Goose!

The main reason I wanted to get a dog was because I wanted something to protect me and one that loves to swim, because I’m on the water all the time. I grew up with Chesapeake Bay retrievers all my life. There’s no better water dog! He has lived his whole life on a sailboat, and he just turned one. If he’s not at work with me, he’s fishing with my neighbor. He sits on the bow of the boat, his ears flopping. He goes swimming every day. Honestly, I cannot get him out of the water. 

Any future aspirations to share?

In the next year I’m looking to get involved with a surveying apprenticeship, so after I become a certified marine surveyor, I want to hop down the coast, do some solo trips with my dog, and spend some time in South Carolina and come back to Maryland when I’m ready. 

Interview by Chelsea Co