Cooper, Holly

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Main contributors
Center for Public History, University of Houston; University of Houston Libraries, University of Houston
This is an oral history interview with Holly Cooper conducted as part of the Houston History Project. Houston Pilot Holly Cooper discusses how she came to be a pilot, following her father’s suggestion to turn her love for the water into a career. After attending Texas A&M in Galveston, she began sailing on foreign-flagged ships working her way up from third mate, second mate, chief mate, to captain with an unlimited master’s ticket. Often the only woman on board a ship, she discusses the challenges that women faced getting into the profession both at sea and as pilots. A pilot’s job is local knowledge of the waterway, and Captain Cooper describes in detail the uniqueness of working the Houston Ship Channel, which is much longer, more narrow, and winding than other ports. In addition, it has become the nation’s largest port in terms of traffic. It requires specific procedures for pilots to follow, particularly when large tankers are passing in close quarters. Cooper details the steps to taking a boat out to sea, explains how pilot boats are used to transport pilots to and from their ships, the dangers of boarding and disembarking, and training protocols for new pilots. She also discusses the changes she has seen implemented along the channel over the last twenty years of her service.
Women's rights; Cooper, Holly
Houston, Texas
Oral Histories from the Houston History Project
University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
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In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted


University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
Houston History Archives
Oral Histories from the Houston History Project
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Preservation Location: ark:/84475/pm4095jb97r
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