If I remember correctly, the first women to secure jobs as deckhands on North Carolina ferries were hired in the 1970s. Even then, some men considered it "bad luck" to have women working on boats. Much has changed since then. Today a number of women work on the ferries, and a few are captains.
On the other hand, perhaps the attitudes of the mid-twentieth century are the anomalies. I recently came across this report from 1879, in the Raleigh News & Observer:
"An imperfect diary, kept by Gen. John Gray Blount [1752-1833], contains some interesting information. He states that when he was a very young man, an old man on Ocracoke told him that the first vessel ever piloted over Ocracoke bar, was brought in by a woman name Patsey Caraway, and at that time the channel ran so near the land that you could 'chunk a biscuit' on the deck of a vessel."
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the curious story of Vera/Charlie Williams. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news052114.htm.