Enlisted Empowerment—The Female Perspective: BM3 Steph Horvat

Blog series created by YN2 Courtney Myers

This is the third in a series of Q&A blog posts highlighting enlisted female leaders serving in the U.S. Coast Guard. Be sure to check back monthly for more career insight, mentorship and inspiration.

BM3 Steph Horvat at Coast Guard Station Jonesport, Maine

BM3 Steph Horvat at Coast Guard Station Jonesport, Maine

What is your favorite part of your job?

I love being underway. Any day I can get out on the water is a good day. There is a spot in my area of responsibility where there are rock faces on either side of the boat. The channel is about 50 yards wide, but about 110 feet deep. There are pine trees on top of the rock faces and a lighthouse on the very end of the right rock outcropping. It’s my favorite spot in the AOR. I have that lighthouse on my arm as part of my nautical tattoo sleeve. I am also the Social Media Coordinator for my unit, so I enjoy telling stories about the station to the public. I went to college for TV Broadcasting, so it takes me back to my college days.

What has been the most memorable moment of your career?

I’ve been in a little less than three years, but I’d have to say taking my Coxswain board in August. I had such a hard time trying to qualify that taking my board represented a mountain peak. I’m teetering on the edge of it still. I’m currently waiting on some weather for a check ride, but the new command has been great about having me take my time and really get comfortable with driving.

BM3 Steph Horvat performing maintenance on rescue and survival gear at Station Jonesport

BM3 Steph Horvat performing maintenance on rescue and survival gear at Station Jonesport

Did you ever feel like giving up? What made you keep pushing?

When I was trying to qualify as a Coxswain for the 47-foot Motor Lifeboat, I kept facing road block after road block on sign offs, and I almost went back to school to become a machinery technician. I still joke about it, but now that I am on the last step to becoming a coxswain, I want it. Honestly, my mom and friends are what kept me going. My mom was (and still is) so proud of me, I couldn’t let her down. My friends kept me pushing because they said I am a fighter and no matter what, I would never give up on my dreams. Well, my dream was to join the Coast Guard and serve my country. In the process, I’m trying to get as many qualifications as I can because I can. Coxswain just happens to be the biggest one I’ve had to face so far.

BM3 Steph Horvat driving a 47-foot Motor Lifeboat

BM3 Steph Horvat driving a 47-foot Motor Lifeboat

Do you have a hobby that you enjoy outside of work?

I love to write. I’m currently working on a book about a female in present day that lost her lover but vows to find him in another life. Then it goes into the 1800s to a female who ran away from her privileged lifestyle to become a pirate. She, of course, meets a pirate and falls in love with him. But the Admiral she ran away from is chasing her across the seven seas. Think of Pirates of the Caribbean meets Time Traveler’s Wife. I also love to visit and research light houses of the area. Another big passion of mine is sailing. However, I have not sailed since early college. If I could get my hands on a small sailboat, I would be doing that as much as I can. I also enjoy horseback riding, which I have not done for a few years as well. Boats and horses are just too expensive for someone who moves every two to four years. Plus, my husband is a little afraid of both. Oh well. Maybe when I retire in 18 years.

BM3 Steph Horvat on a hike

BM3 Steph Horvat on a hike

Is there anything particular you do outside of your Coast Guard service to maintain your personal identity?

I’m stationed in Jonesport, Maine, so there’s not much to do. I do go hiking, camping and kayaking a lot in the summer time. I’m also still involved in a Sea Cadet unit as an officer. One weekend a month, I drill with the cadets and teach them about the maritime services and offer as much leadership as I can to the high school cadets.

What advice would you give to young women thinking about joining the service?

DO IT!!! The Coast Guard is a great opportunity for females. I joined and became a BM because I can do anything, once I get the qualifications for it. I researched the Navy and was in Army ROTC in college, but as a female most of the jobs were closed to me. Plus, I was stuck doing one job in the other branches. The Coast Guard allows me to do anything, from sanding and painting the boat, to helping fix an engine.

Horvat Color Guard

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