Are you are wishing to pursue more interests alongside yachting, or perhaps you’re considering your life after yachting? Lia Johnson says go for it!
Superyacht Content was lucky enough to speak to Lead Deckhand, Dive Instructor and founder of Strike & Co Photography, LJ Strike. We speak about her career in yachting and the experiences she’s faced while being a female deckhand, as well as how to become a diving instructor. Not to mention, what it’s like a run a photography company alongside all of this!
About Lia Johnson-Strike
“My name is Lia Johnson-Strike, but people know me as LJ, I am the Lead Deckhand, Dive Instructor, and Photographer onboard M/Y Nomad. I was born in Alice Springs, a small town in the middle of the Australian outback. I have a massive passion for photography, scuba diving, and skiing. This is rather strange since Alice Springs is 1500km from the nearest beach, and there’s definitely no snow! I’ve been lucky enough to have lived in Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, Egypt, and Japan. And, I’ve studied Indonesian, Arabic, and Japanese.”
How are you currently spending your time and where are you located?
Actually, I’m in the shipyard! First-time Nomad has been out of the water since her launch in April 2019. So, it’s all jam-packed and exciting at the moment. We are in San Diego, California and It’s such a nice place to be, so feeling super lucky.
When did your career in yachting begin?
I’ve been a yachtie for four years now, which seems very short and very long at the same time! It was the end of 2017 when I made the leap from working ashore to being onboard a Superyacht. And, I’ve never looked back…
Which M/Ys have you worked on previously?
M/Y Domani, M/Y Unicorn, M/Y Dancing Hare, and now, M/Y Nomad.
Deckhands were once stereotyped as dominant male roles. Have you faced any challenges in your yachting career as a female deckhand?
Sadly, I have had my fair share of challenges, especially in the earlier days. When I first started looking for deckhand positions, I was often told:
“you won’t get a job as a female deckhand, so I’ll put you down as a stewardess” – This was from an agency in Fort Lauderdale.
“Boys on the outside, girls on the inside” – One Captain told me.
So, I have had my share of ups and downs. But as you can see, I stayed persistent and now I get headhunted by Captains who are specifically looking for female deckhands.
You’re a Deckhand, a Dive instructor, and a Photographer… What do you consider to be your main career, and what motivated you to take on responsibility for three of them?
As most people in yachting know, being a deckhand is the majority 90% of the job, and diving is just a bonus (depending on your boat’s program of course). But, I would love my main career to be Diving and Photography. The joy I receive from doing both of these exceeds all the careers I’ve ever had (maybe bar the ski instructor job in Japan).
When I started on Nomad I was solely employed as the Deckhand and Dive instructor. However, as time went on, the crew, captains, and owner started to see my Superyacht Photography. As a result, they realised I was probably more talented than I had led to believe. And so, it became an added role. Now I’m in charge of everything Superyacht Photography and Videography related above and below the water, and I love it. Drones, underwater cameras, GoPros, and professional cameras. We have it all!
Let’s Discuss Strike & Co photography
How did Strike and Co start?
Strike & Co. is run by myself and my brother who lives in Australia. We’ve both been into photography for as long as I could remember and had always had a fiery passion for going out and capturing that perfect shot. After brainstorming for a few years, we finally decided it was time to make Strike & Co a real thing, and here we are.
Which area of Photography do you specialise in?
We specialise in aerial, abstract, astro, underwater, and landscape photography.
You mentioned to us before the interview that you’ve worked with companies such as Funair, Invisible, and Amels magazine. Are these all yachting brands that have approached you due to the success of Strike and Co?
I would say most of these companies have been in touch with me through Instagram or the Nomad Instagram page. Instagram is such a useful tool for photo sharing and has a higher audience than most websites I’d say. It’s through Instagram that most people discover Strike & Co.
Which project to date has been your favourite, and why? `
Working with Amels and Invincible is always up with the best. Both Deniza and Rudy share that same passion for showcasing their commodities/products, through photos and videos. Having my photography featured in the Amels Finest Moments magazine will always be a favourite for sure!
How about if you could pick one company that you hope to work with over the next year, which would it be?
Besides always wanting to work for Nikon or Nat Geo, I would love to work with Amels. I already have such great connections and relationships with some of the team there. And, I would love to go to Holland and see everything in the flesh!
To finish off, Please could you share with our readers:
- Your Top 3 tips for aspiring female Deckhands who want to start yachting:
Do your research about yachting. Also, be persistent! Don’t get disheartened by setbacks, know your goals and stick with them, and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t just because you’re a girl!
- The main steps to take to become a diver instructor:
If you go through Padi, everyone had to start with Open water, to Advanced Open water, followed by Rescue, and then Dive Master. Then finally, once you’ve logged your 100 dives you can enroll in the PADI IDC.
- A key point of advice for other content creators looking to succeed:
Being consistent is key. Keep your content interesting and up to date. This will ensure you don’t get swamped by yacht life and have to keep your images and videos updated all the time
A collection of photos by Strike and Co:
To check out more of Strike co Photography, click here.
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