Adam Dunphy

Deckhand

Secunda Marine
St. John's, NL

Why did Adam choose this career area?

Adam’s dad, uncles, and grandfather were fishermen; so Adam knew something about the sea from an early age. When he was nine years old, he started fishing with his dad.

At age 16, Adam joined the Royal Canadian Navy as a reservist. This experience taught him about marine careers, and it gave him an exciting part-time job while he was in high school and college.

What’s Adam’s educational background?

Adam completed the Marine Institute’s Bridge Watch program, which took less than a year. He did his work term with Secunda Marine on a supply vessel off Sable Island, NS.

Adam was uncertain of his career choice at first, but the salary and time off convinced him he was in the right field.

Once he has completed the required sea time, Adam plans to write the Transport Canada exams for the watch keeping mate ticket.

What’s Adam’s job all about?

Adam works with plenty of high-tech equipment on the bridge and in the engine room. He notes that the ship he sails on is environmentally friendly. For example, it has a big side sweep recovery system in case of an oil spill offshore. Along with the rest of the crew, Adam does routine emergency preparedness training.

He does regular ship maintenance, assists with cargo operations, and acts as lookout on the bridge. The ship has two fast rescue crafts, and he drives one of them. His favorite duties are working with cargo and diving the fast rescue craft.

What are Adam’s working conditions like?

Adam works 28 days on and 28 days off. When onboard, he works 12-hour days (six hours on and six off) seven days a week. He likes the shift system, and work time goes by quickly. He says that teamwork is essential to working aboard a ship.

In order to get to work, Adam drives to St. John’s because crew changes take place there. When he worked off Sable Island, he flew to Halifax to join the ship.

Adam says that modern ships can be better equipped than many people’s homes, and companies are making accommodations better all the time in order to attract young employees.

Most crew members have their own cabins with private washrooms and television. Ships usually provide internet and telephone access.

What benefits are associated with Adam’s job?

Starting salaries for bridge watch deckhands range from $35,000 - $50,000. With a little experience, that salary can increase to $60,000 - $70,000 per year.

The salaries for deckhands working offshore are generally higher than salaries for those working elsewhere. As well, training is always available in areas such as first aid, safe work, confined space, oil spill response, and rescue craft.

Adam works on an offshore supply vessel on the NL Grand Banks. While he is happy for now to work close to home, his employer has ships sailing all over the world. In fact, the company regularly flies NL mariners to ships in the North Sea, Africa, Russia, and the Gulf of Mexico. One day Adam may consider working on ships travelling in different waters.

What’s exciting or cool about Adam’s career area?

Adam’s sea time has let him enjoy seeing some interesting parts of the world. He has sailed the coast of Labrador, been in the Arctic on a tanker, navigated along the western side of Hudson Bay, and stopped in Canada’s most northern community, Gris Fjord. He has enjoyed beautiful scenery and gained valuable work experience navigating in ice and in poorly charted waters.

What advice would Adam give to people considering a marine transportation career?

Adam says that it’s important to get along well with others because working on a ship means interacting in close quarters. Good people skills make a big difference.

For those adventurous individuals who have a strong work ethic, this is a career worth considering. There’s an ocean of opportunity.