Tia England

Deckhand

Maersk/Seamanning
St. John's, NL

Why did Tia choose this career area?

Since most of Tia’s family worked in the fishery, she had a natural interest in working on the water. She knew there were great jobs available in marine transportation, but as a female she was a bit hesitant about the lifestyle. The more she thought about it, the more she knew she owed it to herself to try.

What’s Tia’s educational background?

Tia completed the nine-month Marine Institute Bridge Watch program, followed by a two-month work term with Maersk. She credits school with giving her the necessary knowledge and her work term with providing the hands-on skills.

The Bridge Watch program let her gain confidence as a female in an untraditional occupation. Once she got experience on a vessel, she knew that she had selected her life’s work. The career offered a great return on her short investment in post-secondary education.

What’s Tia’s job all about?

Tia works as a lookout, keeping watch on the bridge. She assists with mooring and cargo operations and is part of the standby emergency crew. She also does maintenance duties such as painting, chipping, and cleaning.

There are lots of jobs to be done on a ship, and Tia says she never gets bored. Work is interesting, and time slips by quickly. She really enjoys work when the ship is moving oil rigs to new locations or towing dangerous icebergs away from the oil fields. She thrives on being a member of the Fast Rescue Craft team.

What are Tia’s working conditions like?

Tia works 28 days on and 28 days off, and she sees this as an attractive shift system. When onboard she works 12-hour days, seven days a week. Maersk ships dock in St. John’s, so she can easily drive to meet the ship.

Living and working on a ship is like having a home away from home. Tia has her own room and private washroom, and she has easy internet and telephone access. The lounge is there for socializing after shifts, and Tia takes advantage of the onboard gym. It works for her.

What benefits are associated with Tia’s job?

Salaries for bridge watch deckhands range from $67,000 - $85,000 per year, depending on years of experience. The offshore industry pays well, and training for this job takes only one year.

Maersk employees can take full advantage of their six months off because of the attractive 28-day rotation. Tia has embraced the lifestyle and had no problems as a female in a traditionally male job. She gets plenty of time at home with family and friends; and she has made good friends at work, too.

Tia has benefitted from the company’s big investment in training, and she does whatever courses are provided. She has almost enough sea time now to write the required Transport Canada exams to upgrade her ticket to Officer of the Watch. With the higher ticket, her pay will increase.

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

Tia’s work has all been on vessels working NL’s offshore. However, she works for one of the world’s largest international ship supply companies. It has several ships based in NL; others are working in Africa, the North Sea, and wherever else they are needed.

One day Tia may venture into new waters and sail farther afield. Her view is that an international assignment would let her see the world for free. For now, though, she’s happy to be just where she is.

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

Tia notes this is a great career, both personally and professionally. The money is impressive, and the time off is difficult to beat.

With hard work and a willingness to learn new things, it’s possible to move up through the ranks. It helps to have good people skills and to be motivated and energetic.

For people who want to train quickly and join the workforce immediately, Tia suggests this career option is worthy of consideration.