Sea with Katie

I love that I have to understand the ocean to survive and that I have to listen to her to thrive

“That Feeling is the feeling of reconnecting to something deep inside my ancestral soul…like a puzzle piece has been put back into place. The ocean is where I find my happiness and my passion, it is where I feel the most free, and like a gravitational force, it is constantly tugging at me and pulling me back towards it. Salt is in my blood, and I cannot live without it.”

Growing up prone to seasickness, the boating odds were stacked against Katie Coeckelenbergh-Sawyer.

Initially, her time on the water in Port Aransas, Texas, was spent working summer jobs on jet ski tours, washing boats, and parasail guiding.

She conquered her sea sickness - but her true love of boating didn’t start until she was 20-years-old on an overnight boat expedition in the Gulf of Mexico.

Katie, 33, said: “I remember watching the sunrise over a glass-like deep blue water over 100 miles from shore and realising that THAT was where I was supposed to be.”

From there she got her captain’s licence, finished her degrees, and pursued a life of offshore fishing with her husband and high school sweetheart, Drake.

The full-time fisherwoman launched a blog called ‘the sea with Katie’ and has built a loyal legion of more than 20,000 fans who follow her adventures across the world.

She also has a Bachelor's degree in Natural Resource Management, a Master’s in Environmental Science and an inspirational educator of sustainable fishing and marine conservation.

Now Katie is spearheading a new global influencer campaign for the Yacht Coatings division of AkzoNobel which will see her celebrate her lifetime of adventures at sea - while revealing what That Feeling means to her.

She said: “Being on the wild ocean is my home, and boating takes me there.

“I love the ocean and all that she gives me. I love that I have to understand her to survive and that I have to listen to her to thrive.”

Her husband Drake’s first break into the fishing industry came aged 15 on a Texan headboat.

Drake worked his way up to being the captain of a 57ft Capps Custom Sportfishing boat and convinced the owners to take Katie on as a stewardess.

She said: “I worked hard to learn every aspect of the boat - maintenance, tackle, fishing techniques, and navigation.

“Drake’s passion, hard work and devotion to the craft made him an incredible role model. Boats take a lot of time and money to maintain properly, but when done correctly they can make dreams come true.”

7 years later in March 2022 Katie finally had her first opportunity to step up as First Mate.

She took full control of the cockpit, preparing the rigging and all the tackle, and spearheaded a team which caught a record-equalling eight giant bluefin tuna in just one day near the Spanish island of La Gomera.

All catch and release fish weighed between 500 and 800 pounds and it proved to be a monumental trip.

Katie said: “It was an incredible moment for me because I was able to prove to myself that not only could I fill a position commonly filled by men, but I could do it exceedingly well. This was a really special day for me!”

Life at sea wasn’t all smooth sailing, however, as the adventure-loving couple faced their biggest challenge trying to navigate home during the pandemic.

They were left stuck in the severe Spanish lockdown for 94 days, unable to even go outside. For months after that, Katie and Drake were unable to move the boat out of the Spanish Territory, and unwilling to leave it there. It wasn't until a whole fishing season later that they were able to leave the island and continue their east Atlantic tour up to Madeira. When it was time to return back to the US, the shipping schedule no longer allowed for a stop in the Canary Islands, due to all the setbacks brought forth by the global pandemic.

Katie and Drake had to move the boat 800 miles up the western coast of Africa to Gibraltar, where they were hit by a month of delays and eventually told to travel another 1,200 miles to load a ship in Italy.

At this point, the fishing tournament season in the Gulf of Mexico had already started, and Katie and Drake were desperately floating around on the other side of the ocean just trying to get home. After many delays and much confusion, they ended up shipping out of Tarragona, Spain, almost six weeks later and missing an entire Gulf Coast season.

The fun-loving couple are heading to Bahamas for spring then down to the Keys, Louisiana and back home to Port Aransas for the summer season.

Katie said: “Living the vagabond life out of a suitcase can be really challenging on an easy day, and I miss my family and home more often than not.

“They are all super supportive of my unpredictable life and are always welcoming me for a quick visit with little to no notice. It helps tremendously that I am partaking in this adventure with my husband, and even our miniature poodle Makaira gets to join in!”

Katie will continue to share her passion for life at sea, fishing and marine conservation on her Instagram, YouTube channel and blog.

Find out more about Katie:


Instagram link

YouTube link


What does That Feeling mean to you?

Tag your content with our hashtags #AkzoNobel #ThatFeeling so that we can celebrate your passion with the sailing world.

Songs For Sailing

Our influencers have come together to curate this playlist for you to enjoy when you are out on the water.