Cindy Martin

Chief Engineer

Algoma Tankers
St. Catherines's, NL

Why did Cindy choose this career area?

Cindy originally intended to study Naval Architecture. However, her friends at Marine Institute were doing the Marine Engineering program, and she became interested in their studies. Cindy wanted independence, so a career involving lots of sea time seemed a good choice for her.

Cindy completed high school math and physics courses. This paved the way for her to succeed in courses such as thermodynamics, electricity, applied mechanics, naval architecture, engineering, and motor knowledge. Changing programs turned out to be a great career move.

What’s Cindy’s educational background?

Cindy graduated from Random Island Academy and went directly to Marine Institute in St. John’s. Even though she changed programs, she lost no time because both programs had a common first year. She completed the Diploma in Mechanical Engineering (Marine) from Marine Institute in St. John’s in 1993. She was promoted to Second Engineer in 1998 and to Chief Engineer in 2005.

What’s Cindy’s job all about?

Cindy works on a tanker sailing the Great Lakes. She is responsible for the overall supervision of the engine department. As Chief Engineer, she assigns duties to the other three engineers.

Cindy manages productivity, ship maintenance, transportation objectives, and operational cost control. She ensures that equipment is safe to operate and that machinery onboard is well maintained. She completes regular reports for machinery maintenance, enforces safety regulations, and manages safe working practices.

What are Cindy’s working conditions like?

Cindy’s shift is 30 days on and 30 days off, and she loves having lots of time at home in NL. When on duty, she typically works 12-hour shifts; but she can be called upon when needed.

Cindy has satellite television in her cabin, access to the internet, and time to socialize. Crew members get along well and often play cards at breaks and after work. The cook prepares a variety of good food and snacks, and laundry services are provided.

What benefits are associated with Cindy’s job?

Cindy’s company regularly sends her on engineering and management courses in various places, and she attends annual meetings in St. Catherines, ON.

Salaries for her position are in the $100,000 - $130,000 range. This pay requires six months of work on the tanker and provides six months of paid leave. The job comes with good medical and dental benefits, and with a retirement plan.

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

Cindy travels a lot because of her work. As well, working one month on and one month off gives her six months a year to do whatever she chooses. The best benefit for Cindy is that, despite working out of province, she still lives in the town where she grew up.

During her time off, Cindy travels and enjoys time with friends and family. When it comes time to go back to work, her work-related travel expenses are paid by her company.

While she is working, the crew works co-operatively. A “safety first” culture is part of living and working on a ship. Cindy likes that she learns new things every day. Since companies are always hiring, up-to-date skills make employees attractive.

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

Cindy believes graduates with Diplomas in Marine Engineering will easily get work, and jobs are getting better all the time. She thinks the career would suit good students who have common sense and a strong work ethic. They must be safety conscious, organized, and able to plan work. It also helps to be a people person.

Cindy says there’s an ocean of opportunity for new graduates. After gaining second-class and first-class certification, there is a great variety of employment for marine engineers.