North Island College is offering a unique opportunity for mariners to upgrade their skills in an online format.

While face-to-face classes are not possible, the college is one of the first post-secondary institutions to be granted approval to offer certified marine training courses digitally.

The courses cover key subjects like boat safety, identifying hazards, emergency response, survival and rescue and more.

“Despite the current requirements for physical distancing, it is exciting to be offering marine courses in an online format,” says Lynne MacFadgen, regional director of NIC Continuing Education & Training. “It will give coastal community members access to industry-recognized training for safe vessel operation, as well as entry-level maritime skills and knowledge.”

The online courses approved by Transport Canada are required for deckhands and other entry-level positions.

“I am very proud of the hard work that Suzanne Jolly, Campbell River regional training officer, and her Transport Canada-accredited instructors have done to transition these courses to alternative delivery,” MacFadgen adds.

Students will need a laptop, phone or tablet with internet access, speakers, camera and microphone as they will join the course daily in a live video call with a Transport Canada certified instructor.

The course materials have been adapted so that students will also have some take-home work as part of the coursework, which they’ll be required to submit or explain in class via video with their instructor.

On the last day of the course, students will do their exam one-on-one with the instructor, via live video.

“It’s a great chance for students to learn all you need to safely operate small vessels in near coastal waters,” says Clive Quigley, NIC marine instructor. “Also, it’s exciting for us to be able to offer these courses, meaning that students can access the training from across Canada without having to pay for travel. It means access to marine safety courses will be a lot easier now.”

To learn more about NIC’s Marine Training courses or to register, click here.