What made you want to pursue a career with BC Ferries?
When I moved to Vancouver in 1992 and first looked out at English Bay, I was amazed by all the ships. So, I called the coastguard and asked them, “What do I need to do to get onto one of those ships?”
How does someone become a BC Ferries captain?
First you need to get your sea-time working as a deckhand. It took me about six years before I got my navigation ticket at the Pacific Marine Training Institute (PMTI) where you learn chart-work, how to stabilize the boat, how to load ships and about ship construction. I could practically build a ship!
Do you have a favourite memory from your days as a deckhand?
I remember I was cleaning the bridge on the vessel and my colleague Susanne said to me, “one day we’re going to be up here! I’m going to be the captain and you’re going to be the chief officer.” And I said, “no, you’ll be the chief officer and I’ll be the captain! Well, maybe we can both be the captain …” About two years ago, our dream came true – I’m the captain and she’s the Senior Chief Steward of the Queen of Surrey. Dreams do come true … with persistence.
What do you remember from your first day as a captain?
When I had control of the ship for the first time, I knew right then, that this is where I belong. I am finally here and this is what I am supposed to be doing in my life.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
Docking. Your challenge is to do the perfect docking every time. There are always many factors to consider – current, wind, weather, fog, propulsion from the other ships.
What is the coolest thing you’ve seen from your captain’s chair?
There are dolphins and there are whales, but the coolest thing I have ever seen is deer swimming across the ocean! We were sailing between Gambier and Bowen Island and I saw these deer heads bobbing up and down in the water. I was like “wait a minute, those things have horns!”
Where do you like to vacation on B.C.’s coast?
Tofino. The wide open ocean is so rough and rugged. Most of the beaches are protected and it is so beautiful out there.
What’s your favourite menu item from the Coastal Cafe?
Definitely the Tuscan chicken pasta.
What’s the one word you’d use to describe a BC Ferries captain?
Fortunate. The passengers are great and I love all the crew – we are like a family and we have a lot of fun together. There is a reason I have been with BC Ferries for 21 years!