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"I love navigating the world's oceans - the last great wilderness!"

For Simon Winterburn, a career as a ship's officer is about the challenges and rewards. "Applying knowledge and techniques on a wide range of subjects can be challenging but extremely rewarding," says Simon. "The feeling of being the officer responsible for the ship and crew is rarely paralleled."

Simon started his career on the water with charter boat sport fishing and commercial fishing on a trawler out of Montauk, New York. For about six years he fished anything from squid to tuna. He then spent two years in the United Kingdom working as a captain/mate on two marine research vessels.

When he and his wife decided to move back to Vancouver Island, where her family is from, he found out that Transport Canada didn't recognize his UK captain's licence and other qualifications, so he took the next big step in his career and decided to complete the Watchkeeping Mate program at Camosun. The program, which is offered in conjunction with Transport Canada Marine Safety Branch, requires experience at sea. "I found the instructors went the extra mile in their teaching," says Simon. "Not just teaching you enough to pass the tests, but also the skills and knowledge you need to do the job in a real world application." He excelled in the program, winning the prestigious Nautical Professional Education Society of Canada bursary along with the respect of his classmates and instructors. Completion of the program allows Simon to move up from smaller vessels on the coast to work as an officer of the watch, on any vessel anywhere in the world.

"I consider the world's oceans to be the last great wilderness on the planet. No matter how well they've been charted and surveyed, or how often a course has been travelled, it will never make it any less wild out here," says Simon. "I love that the view from your office window is ever changing, the day's work is always different, and the challenges are never the same."

Where does Simon see himself in the next few years? "I hope to find work in the Arctic, on a general cargo vessel, perhaps or to head out to deep sea, on an international cargo vessel," says Simon. "Buy a house near Campbell River, close to my wife's family. Play in the mountains and woods while at home and explore the mountainous waves or Arctic tundra at work. Perfect life."

Want to navigate the high seas?

Camosun's Nautical Training programs provide the skills for an exciting, in-demand career while becoming part of a special international network of contacts and associates.

Courses range from Basic Safety Training to long duration courses leading to a Certificate of Competency as Master or Mate, issued by Transport Canada, Marine Safety Branch.

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Last updated: September 23, 2015 5:05 pm

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