If you’re someone who wants to keep our B.C. coast safe and strong — and earn excellent wages and benefits while you’re at it — Canada’s Coast Guard has a job for you. Actually, they have all kinds of jobs.
“We do all the hands-on training, and many First Nations and other candidates can get support to achieve prerequisites like first aid certificates and marine emergency skills.”Kaitlin Scurr, a BC-based navigation officer with the Canadian Coast Guard
“Everywhere we need people right now,” Kaitlin Scurr, a BC-based navigation officer with the Canadian Coast Guard, told West Coast Now. “The biggest demand is for accredited engineers and jobs in what we call logistics, people like stewards and cooks. People with experience in fishing lodges, construction camps, and the oil and gas sector often have the qualifications we’re looking for.”
Scurr was sold on the prospect of a career at sea as a teenager after the Coast Guard towed her family to safety after a breakdown.
“I grew up on the coast,” says Scurr. “When one of the crew on that boat asked if I would consider a career with the Coast Guard, I never asked any more questions. It was ‘sign me up.’”
Since then, Scurr has worked “just about every large vessel on the coast as well as two seasons in the Arctic on the Sir Wilfred Laurier, the light icebreaker based in Victoria.” She now works ashore planning large-scale search and rescue training exercises in addition to her recruiting duties.
At a time when maritime jobs are hard to find in B.C., Coast Guard recruiters are offering on-the-job training, paid vacation and pensions, and wide scope for promotion, she says.
“You can walk in off the street with no knowledge of the water and get a decent wage right away,” Scurr explains.
In most entry-level jobs, “we do all the hands-on training,” Scurr says, “and many First Nations and other candidates can get support to achieve prerequisites like first aid certificates and marine emergency skills.”
“If you’re in your twenties and don’t have a clear direction, come and see me.”Jennifer Madeiros, Coast Guard recruiter
A current posting for a fishing officer on one of the Coast Guard’s research vessels pays between $31.86 to $43.39 an hour.
A deckhand can earn $57,576 a year, may qualify to work without additional training at the Coast Guard College in Sydney, Nova Scotia, and could be eligible for scholarships to earn required qualifications. Many positions have opportunities for shift premiums and overtime.
Once hired, Coast Guard employees have the ability to do things like accessing fully-paid university education in nautical sciences or pursuing accreditation as a watch-keeping officer on any vessel in the world.
“If you’re in your twenties and don’t have a clear direction, come and see me,” says Jennifer Madeiros, a Coast Guard recruiter. “There are so many opportunities, and we train people all the way up.”
Madeiros made that leap herself. “I asked myself why I would pay to train for something else when I can get paid to train and get a guaranteed job at the end of it?”
She’s constantly recruiting a pool of qualified candidates for MCTS officers, who require only high school graduation, basic typing skills, and good hearing. More information about potential jobs is available here.