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Becoming Chief Marine Engineer on a Ferry


Becoming Chief Marine Engineer on a Ferry

For Jim, being a Chief Engineer for the Société des traversiers du Québec is an everyday adventure that allows him to work on his resourcefulness and feel useful on a boat, all while being able to come home every night.

Discover his daily life and let yourself be inspired by his story.

My third day off in a row ends well. My girlfriend and I just got back from a walk with our dog Mousse on the edge of the St. Maurice River in Trois-Rivières. I never grow tired of being close to the water.

Tomorrow, I’ll be starting a 2-day streak of day shifts. The weather is supposed to be nice on the way between Trois-Rivières and St-Ignace. I always arrive right on time for the ferry carrying me to Sorel-Tracy, where my 12-hour shift starts on the NM Jos-Deschênes, one of the ferries connecting Sorel-Tracy to St-Ignace-de-Loyola.

When I arrive, I immediately go down to the engine room to say hi to the Chief Engineer who’s finishing his night shift. While we are crossing the River, a 15-minute ride, I sip on a cup of coffee and he tells me about the important things for my shift.

Then, I start my day with a visual inspection of the engines and of all the other machinery around, to make sure that everything works as it should. I will do this a couple more times today. Every time, I verify that the machinery is well checked. I sometimes need to repair or care for something on the engines during my shift, but things usually go smoothly for the machinery of a ferry.

After my studies, I was happy to get a job on a ferry because the work schedule is much different than on a freighter for the merchant navy. It allows me to come back home every night.

At the moment, I am lucky enough to be working with a fellow student from my years at the Institut maritime du Québec in Rimouski, in the Marine Mechanical Engineering Technology program. Qualified workforce is not always easy to find, teams often vary, but the work vibe is always good at the STQ.

I have not always known that I wanted to work as a Marine Engineer. My father was in the Canadian Coast Guard and hoped that I would also be a part of it as a Navigation Officer. I chose the Mechanical Engineering program at the IMQ because I felt it was the best fit and that it would make me very useful.

There’s no denying it: I was not very good at school. Some people thought I wouldn’t even succeed in finishing my studies. But I did obtain my diploma and I am proud of my scholar achievements, as well as the position I work in today. My current goal is to obtain my superior licences and one day, earn my First Class.

On the ferry, every day is different. You need to be mentally strong, to deal with stressful situations when the machinery needs repairing, especially when you know that many people are waiting and counting on you. Above all, you need to stay humble in order to keep on learning.

After every shift, I go back home with a sense of fulfillment, knowing that I learn a bit more every day about my job.

Jump Into the Action as a Ship Superintendent

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Jump Into the Action as a Ship Superintendent

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Jump Into the Action as a Ship Superintendent