Georgian marine students navigate new waters aboard carrier ships

Ever wondered what life on a ship would be like? More than 50 students from Georgian’s  Marine Engineering Technology and Marine Technology – Navigation programs recently spent the day exploring Heddle Shipyards Dry Docks in Port Weller, St. Catharines.

Over 30 volunteers from various marine organizations, industry partners and former Georgian students helped organize the touring of two large vessels, the CSL Tadoussac and the newer Trillium Class CSL St. Laurent.

We sat down with first-year Marine Technology – Navigation students Erin Carey and Makenna Hillier to hear first-hand what the experience was like.

A group of people standing underneath a large red and white carrier ship.
A group of people standing underneath a large red and white carrier ship.

Learning the lay of the land…or water

Erin says the tour was a great introduction to the marine industry.

“It was so exciting to go on a trip like this and learn about ship operations equipment, structures and processes. Before the visit, we also took part in safety training and saw the high standards professional mariners hold for safety and the environment.”

She adds that once on board, they were able to analyze the ship’s engineering and architectural design while seeing cranes and lifts in action.

“More importantly, we got to see what’s under the decks (literally!) and discovered the behind the scenes work that goes into the maintenance of a ship.”  

Makenna adds, “Heddle was great; to see the vessels up close with informative and fun tours. It was an honour to be able to see every part of the vessel, even underneath the keel. Our tour guides were amazing and happy to answer our questions. I would do something like this again in a heartbeat.”

A group of people standing outside with a yellow crane operating in the background.
A group of people wearing hard hats, standing around pumps and control systems inside a ship.

A hands-on experience to remember

Later in the day, the group toured bridge areas, engine rooms, and control areas to check out generators, pumps, and steering systems.

“We even got to see what our living quarters could be like on the ships and had the chance to speak with onsite staff and mentors from other organizations,” says Erin.

A group of people standing around a control area inside a ship.
A group of people standing around a control area inside a ship.

Andrea Lucano, a Georgian College marine engineering instructor co-ordinated the ship tours with marine industry partners. The students also got the extremely unique opportunity to examine underneath the large vessels at the dry dock where the Welland Canal is drained for this work.

“We’re extremely lucky with Georgian to have the professional engineering partners that we do in the industry,” Andrea said. “Right now, our students are learning, and they had a chance to see what we’re talking about in our classes. It was also important for our WOW! Women on the Water group to see other women active on board.”

Erin says this was a great way to imagine a day in the life on a ship, including small details like carefully itemized documents and procedures.

“I could just imagine how my day-to-day would be, climbing tight stairways, troubleshooting connection problems and handling heavy equipment. After this experience, I’m even more eager to learn about expanding my career in the marine economy, especially as I head out on my upcoming co-op work term. Thank you to everyone involved for their support in making this day memorable.”

A person wearing an orange hard hat and safety glasses.
First-year Marine Technology – Navigation student Erin Carey
A wooden cabinet with books and files stacked together.

Ready to set sail for a career in the marine industry?

Learn more about our Marine Studies advanced diploma co-op programs, or our Mechanical Techniques – Marine Engine Mechanic program.

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