For most applicants, a career with BC Ferries tends to start on a temporary or part-time basis. The majority of work open to the public starts as on call shift personnel who handle everything from customer service aboard a ship, to attendants in terminals. Covering a spectrum of work on both land and sea, BC Ferries is one of the largest employers in British Columbia. Shore-based positions require that applicants be at least 16 years of age, and hold a valid drivers licence.
For oceanic operations however, requirements include being 18 years of age or older, with certain key certificates. To work aboard a ship as a deck hand with BC Ferries (or any maritime company in BC), you are required to carry MED (Marine Emergency Duties) certificate. However, to work aboard BC ferries, all positions fall under the requirements of the Transport Canada Bridge Watchman Certificate which when taken through the Western Maritime Institute contains:
- Bridge Watch Rating course
- MED STCW Basic Safety training certificate;
- MED Survival Craft and Rescue Boats training certificate;
- Marine Basic First Aid Certificate;
- Restricted Operator Certificate – Marine Commercial
- Steering Testimonial attesting to the applicant’s ability to steer a vessel.
After the candidate has provided Transport Canada with the above prerequisites, the candidate must succeed a written examination conducted by a Transport Canada Examiner to receive the Transport Canada Bridge Watch Rating Certificate of Competency. The entire course is 360 hours long and is designed for Entry level seafarers, however it does require that you already have a valid Seafarer s Medical or signed WMI waiver form as well as be 16 years of age to apply for these certificates.
For more information from the Western Marine Institute you can go to their web page about the Transport Canada Bridge Watchman Certificate, click here.
BC Ferries also offers a number of industrial jobs to those with mechanical training and certificates. For those not interested in working on a ship, but rather in maintenance and repair, B.C. ferries is constantly looking for people who can keep the many ships that they operate up to date, and fully functioning.
These jobs however require considerably more experience 3-5 years of engineer experience for most of them, as well as a valid Transport Canada Motor Certificate which varies depending on the level needed for the job. For information about Transport Canada and where they operate on the west coast, you can find a full list of there offices here.