Why did Peter choose this career area?
Peter grew up in St. John’s and was unacquainted with nautical careers. He learned
about marine transportation programs from a friend who was enrolled in Nautical
Science. The work sounded interesting, so he decided to give it a try.
What’s Peter’s educational background?
Peter spent two years in university before starting the Marine Institute’s Nautical
Science program. He found he wasn’t enjoying his university education, so that opened
him to new possibilities.
Peter enjoyed Nautical Science courses and applied learning. He did work terms on
a tanker, a general cargo ship, and a cruise ship. From his first day at sea, he
was confident that the program was right for him. He enjoyed the practical and theoretical
learning. Since more management skills are always useful, he hopes to study part-time
toward a graduate degree.
What’s Peter’s job all about?
Before taking his current job, Peter was employed as a First Officer and then a
Chief Officer with Royal Caribbean International. He worked on cruise ships sailing
around Alaska, Europe, the Panama Canal, and the Caribbean. He gained excellent
sea time while seeing many of the world’s most beautiful ports.
Peter wrote all the Transport Canada exams required to move to the top of his field.
He is now working much closer to home as captain aboard a Marine Atlantic ferry
that sails out of Port-aux-Basques. As captain, he has overall command of the vessel
and is responsible for its safe navigation and for all ship operations.
The work is interesting every day. There’s lots of variety, and Peter says it beats
sitting in an office day after day.
Peter finds ship handling the most interesting part of the job. Modern bridge design
incorporates millions of dollars worth of equipment, and ferries use some of the
latest technology. High tech computers and maneuvering equipment allow Peter to
use all his skills. Marine Atlantic provides training on all innovations aboard
the vessel, so there’s always something new to learn.
What are Peter’s working conditions like?
Peter works 12-hour days when he’s on the ferry. His shift rotation is two weeks
on and two weeks off.
The ferry is attractive, clean, and well designed. Peter enjoys excellent cabin,
recreational, and work space, along with great food. There are regular social events,
and good camaraderie exists among the crew. The work is very safe, and Peter holds
regular safety meetings to help keep it that way.
What benefits are associated with Peter’s job?
Master mariner salaries range from $100,000 upward. Peter notes that he makes more
money after a four-year diploma program than most of his friends make after spending
seven or eight years in university. The salary is impressive, and there are more
jobs available than qualified people to take them. It’s great to have choices about
Peter has had excellent travel associated with his job. When he was with the cruise
line, he saw many interesting places. In his current job, he travels for work-related
meetings and training in new technologies.
What’s exciting or cool about Peter’s career area?
Peter says working at sea is really a wonderful lifestyle. When on the ship, he
gives it his full attention. When he’s home, it’s all about home and family.
The long periods of time off work are fantastic, and he likes being able to live
in NL. There are few such jobs that offer the opportunity to work worldwide and
still live in the province.
What advice would Peter give to people considering a marine transportation career?
Peter suggests that people should research this career. As a person who had his
job lined up before graduation, however, it’s hard not to point folks toward this
It’s a dream job for assertive, adventurous people who are interested in trying
new things. It helps to have good communication skills, leadership ability, and
a strong work ethic.