The Bridge Watch Rating program is designed to provide students with the skills, training and certifications to become qualified for a career at sea.

Shown above: Richard Watts, a recent graduate of the Bridge Watch Rating Program, steering a vessel.

Supported by Transport Canada and OPP (Oceans Protection Plan), and via a partnership with BCIT, the Bridge Watch Rating program is offered by Camosun College. The program equips students with the Transport Canada certifications needed to become employed as a deckhand for almost any type of sea-faring vessel. Employers seeking staff with the Bridge Watch Rating program qualification include BC Ferries, the Coast Guard, Cruise Ships, Deep Sea Vessels, Tug Operators and more. 

Applicable to many industriesincluding, commercial fishing, sportfishing, travel, water-related ecotourism, and morethe Bridge Watch Rating program provides students with both practical hands-on and in-classroom training to equip attendees for a career at sea in as little as 16 weeks. 

The scholarship, valued at $30,000 was previously offered to Indigenous community members earlier this Spring. As such, the WLC and Camosun College hosted two information sessions with students who had graduated from the Bridge Watch Program. 

Present in these information sessions was the WLC’s Shauna Johnson, the WLC’s Marine Use Planner. Shauna is working with Oceans Protection Plan Canada via Transport Canada on Marine use plans in W̱SÁNEĆ territory. Part of these plans aim to provide increased opportunities for W̱SÁNEĆ people to get back out on the water in various professional capacities, through the WLC’s Marine Guardians Program, to name one initiative. In addition to opportunities directly at the W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council, there are also various initiatives to create Indigenous jobs within colonial organizations, such as the Canadian Coast Guard, the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, and others. 

Also in attendance at last year’s sessions was Cindy Drover-Davidson, the Bridge Watch Rating coordinator at Camosun College. During the information session, Shauna Johnson discussed the demand for community members with these skill sets and Cindy shared what to expect from the program and the new accessibility measures in place for Indigenous students. Two current and previous students shared their experience applying for and attending the program.

This is expected to be the final year the Bridge Watch Rating program will offer a full scholarship for Indigenous students. The next cohort of the 12-16 week program begins on February 22nd, 2022. The deadline for applications is December 15th. 

One of the most remarkable accessibility accommodations made has been in the intake process. Typically low or missing grades and/or lack of GED has been a barrier to accessing programs like this. However, Camosun College has adapted its policies to make it easier for potential students with these barriers by offering an Indigenous advisor to assist with the application process which requires the completion of a short assessment test in place of GED results. 

Watch a 2-minute clip / a Bridge Watch Rating Program Success Story:

Catch the replay of the full interview with Richard, as well as information from Shauna and Cindy.

Interested in learning more about the 2022 Cohort? 

Sign up below for an upcoming info session where the WLC will be broadcasting a LIVE Question and Answer on the Facebook page

We’ll cover questions like:

  • What’s the program like?
  • Is it really free?
  • What kind of career can you get with this kind of training?
  • What’s the classroom experience like?
  • What if I don’t have my GED?
  • How can I apply?

To get email reminders or to attend on Zoom instead, please register here.

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