On the anniversary of the 60th year celebrating Windjammers Days and maritime history, we pay homage to our founder, Captain Marion Dash for her contribution as a female role model in our maritime community. It is her legacy that has inspired the Friends of Windjammer Days to celebrate the women who are working on the waterfront today who in turn inspire young girls and future maritime generations to come.
Nikki Strout and her husband Taylor started a little “side” business with the premise of raising awareness and helping fellow fishermen who face increasing pressures and a decreasing working waterfront. The couple donates a portion of all sales from Rugged Seas, which takes old lobster bibs and recycles them into totes, backpacks and other assorted products, to the Maine Coast Fishermen's Association and Maine Lobstermen's Community Alliance.
Nikki and Taylor come from a long line of fishermen. Taylor jokes that his grandmother was one of the toughest fishermen he has ever known. She hand hauled traps with her sons when they were boys hauling in the traps until Taylor's father was strong enough to haul them in himself.
The brand Rugged Seas has taken off in part due to the couple's mission... "Rugged Seas isn't just for the fishermen who work year-round and through all kinds of weather to bring seafood to the table-its for all of us who love and respect the ocean and what it does for us."
Nikki, who is a nurse practitioner by training, wears several hats. She has become the front person of their growing company as Taylor can be away for weeks at a time fishing in the Bering Sea. She serves on the board of the Maine Coastal Fishing Association and most importantly she is mom to the couple's three young boys.
Nikki shared what motivates her: "It's definitely my kids. Two of my boys have a visual impairment. Watching how well they manage the world around them always amazes me. No complaints from them. They play a huge part in my motivation and are always inspiring me."
Indeed this super mom and business woman has high standards never losing sight of what's important as Rugged Seas grows, "As long as the fishermen feel like we are staying true to them, that we are accurately representing them, then that is success for us. We want them to feel like we are proud of what they are doing. We live the lifestyle. We are a fishing family and we want them to feel like our company is about them and for them. So as long as we continue down that path, we have been successful."
We salute you, Nikki Strout for being a working woman of integrity for the waterfront.