1st female captain of Maid of the Mist boat at Niagara Falls hopes to inspire others

Posted at 11:40 AM, Aug 04, 2021

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — The first full season of all electric-zero emission boat usage for the Maid of the Mist at Niagra Falls has been a brand new experience for Capt. Katiltynn McHenry.

"It's completely different," McHenry said. "There's definitely a learning curve if you've never worked on something like this before."

McHenry has been making history on the boats all season. After being hired in 2019, she's the first-ever female Maid of the Mist captain. It's something McHenry says she didn't know when she became a captain of the Maid of the Mist.

"And it only ever came up in conversation when I was trying to order uniforms one day and I said, ‘You know, where did the other women captain get their shirts from?’ They said, ‘I don’t think we’ve ever had a female captain before,'" said McHenry

She says it's never been a huge thought on her mind as she enjoys the job. The Maid of the Mist says there have been fewer than 50 captains since 1846 with many staying for 20 or 30 years.

"Kaitlynn has transitioned very well to our new all-electric, zero-emission vessels, and we are pleased she is part of our team of captains who expertly navigate Maid of the Mist vessels on the Niagara River every day," Maid of the Mist President Christopher M. Glynn said of McHenry.

As hundreds of tourists each day are flocking back to the boats following a down year in 2020 due to the pandemic, McHenry says she's still in awe of the natural wonder that is her office.

"If anything, I appreciate them a little more than I did before," McHenry says of Niagara Falls.

McHenry said she would love it if her being a captain could lead to more like her.

"Hopefully, one day, we can do a fully crewed boat by all women," McHenry said, "that would be a lot of fun."

For more information on the Maid of the Mist, check out the link here.

This story was originally published by Jeff Slawson at WKBW.