Mariners from across the country are gaining new safety skills, thanks to North Island College (NIC)’s online marine safety courses.
NIC moved the training online due to COVID-19 as a pilot project and has received rave reviews from students, who are accessing the courses from across the country.
Students learn skills like chartwork and emergency response protocols in live video conference calls with Transport Canada-approved instructors.
“We’re pleased that we received early approval from Transport Canada to transition our entry-level marine skills courses to a digital format, which allowed NIC to offer marine safety courses that are truly accessible across our college regions and much farther afield,” said Lynne MacFadgen, regional director, continuing education and training.
Paul Guy has been a part of the Yellowknife volunteer marine search and rescue team for almost twenty years and took his first Transport Canada marine safety courses with NIC.
“Marine safety training has just not been easily available,” said Guy. “There’s no regular training provider in Yellowknife that I’m aware of, so I would have had to travel and take time off work.”
Instead, Guy was able to take his marine safety training online from his home.
“I was impressed by how well it worked,” he said. “The platform and pace are both very good and the course is very well organized. The lectures, demonstrations and group work were all easy to follow.”
Fellow student Derek Scanlan is a recreational boater from Port Alberni who enjoys exploring along the outside western coast of northern Vancouver Island and also joins in on family sport fishing trips. He found the online training very effective.
“We had good interaction and access to our instructor, who was very knowledgeable,” said Scanlan. “I didn’t see any challenges that we couldn’t overcome in a virtual setting as opposed in an in-person classroom, and I felt like I actually learned more than I was expecting.”
Like Guy, being able to access the training online was a benefit for Scanlan, who normally would have had to take time off work and travel for the training.
“It’s just really efficient at eliminating challenges like distance, and avoiding having to pay for travel and accommodations,” he said.
NIC is offering more online marine safety courses approved by Transport Canada this fall. The three courses approved are generally required for deckhands and other entry-level positions in the marine industry: Small Vessel Operators Proficiency (SVOP, NAU 005), Small Non-Pleasure Domestic Vessel- Basic Safety (SDV-BS, MED 003 [formerly known as MED A3]), and Restricted Operators Certificate- Maritime (ROC-M, NAU 016).
Additional marine training courses for higher level positions in the marine industry will be offered in face-to-face, on campus classes. These on campus courses will have smaller student numbers in each course in order to accommodate COVID health guidelines. These courses will include Simulated Electronic Navigation (SEN-L, NAU 030) and Restricted Operator Certificate- Maritime Commercial (ROC-MC, NAU 051).
NIC plans to offer more advanced, in-demand mariner courses in the fall and these will be announced later in July.
To learn more about NIC’s Marine Training, or to register, visit www.nic.bc.ca/marine-training.