It is no secret that both the shipping and ship repair industry in Canada face an uphill battle when it comes to attracting skilled men and women to our industry. Shipboard life can mean long stretches away from home, and the harsh Canadian climate can make working at a shipyard in the winter and summer challenging, to say the least. Attracting young professionals to the marine industry is one of the starkest challenges facing both shipping and ship repair companies in Canada today.

That said, private companies, not-for-profit organizations and the government are taking initiatives to shed light on the numerous opportunities that a career in the marine industry can provide. The Marine Club Organization, based in St. Catharine’s Ontario, is at the forefront of this effort and is taking its mandate to support and celebrate the marine industry to new heights.

On Saturday, February 15th, Heddle Shipyards was proud to host more than sixty people, many of them students from the Georgian College Marine Engineering and Navigation programs, at our shipyard in Port Weller. Organized by the Marine Club and in partnership with Canada Steamship Lines and Rand Logistics, the day was an opportunity for our future mariners to see the vessels they will one day, potentially, sail on. “Seeing these massive ships as they pass by or working onboard is one experience, but being able to stand underneath them really gives you a new perspective,” says Heddle Shipyards’ Sales Manager Ted Kirkpatrick. “It’s just another way we can get young professionals excited about the marine industry, plus they get to learn first hand what goes into dry docking the ships that they will one day work on.”

Special thanks to Oliver Hiltebrand and the entire Marine Club team for organizing this event, and we look forward to hosting Georgian College Center for Marine Training and Research again next year. In the meantime, best of luck to all our young mariners – sail safe out there.