PORT HAWKESBURY: The newest additions to the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) Nautical Institute were on display at a ceremony held last Thursday.

In the shadow of a new Fast Rescue Craft (FRC) that is designed to be the first vessel on the scene in the event of trouble at sea, NSCC Strait Area Campus principal Tom Gunn welcomed visitors to the campus parking lot for the official unveiling of the FRC and two other new pieces of marine training equipment. These include a totally enclosed lifeboat and new davits, as well as a single arm davit for the Nautical Institute’s wave tank.

“We are a deliverer of world-class training for the marine sector, and more and more companies are recognizing that the cadets that are graduating from here are the top cadets in Canada,” Gunn pointed out.

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“This is really high-risk training, so it’s important for us to keep up with the standard of equipment, and I’m so really glad that we have this new equipment.”

NSCC Strait Area Campus principal Tom Gunn and Port Hawkesbury Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton were among those addressing the crowd at the March 9 unveiling of three new pieces of marine equipment for the NSCC Nautical Institute.

The Nautical Institute’s academic chair, Vivek Saxena, added that the school’s status as the only marine training institute of its kind in the Maritimes puts the onus on NSCC officials to ensure that the equipment used to train its students reaches the highest possible standard.

“To ensure our equipment is able to support the best student experience possible is why it is crucial to maintain the industry standard for the work we do,” Saxena declared.

“These investments by the college are investments in our students. Safety is one of the core values of the college – it is always our objective to ensure our training will prepare our students for their career at sea, so they are able to fulfill their duties, and to prepare them for any emergency they might face.”

NSCC Nautical Institute academic chair Vivek Saxena and NSCC vice-president of campuses and communities Cathy MacLean spoke at the March 9 unveiling of three new pieces of marine equipment, including a Fast Rescue Craft (FRC), a totally enclosed lifeboat with new davits, and a Single Arm Davit for the Port Hawkesbury facility’s wave pool.

NSCC’s vice-president of campuses and communities, Cathy MacLean, praised the Nautical Institute staff and faculty for their efforts to train the next generation of seafarers for the growing marine sector.

“I’m always amazed when I tour the Nautical Institute – the resources that are inside and out, and on the water, are truly state-of-the-art and provide a real glimpse of what our students can expect once they are working in the field and at sea,” MacLean declared.

“Whether it is to learn how to fight fires at the fire training centre, or jumping feet first into the wave tank, or plunging into the frigid Atlantic waters in our free-fall lifeboat, there’s never a dull moment at the institute for our students and faculty.”

With this in mind, MacLean suggested that the three new pieces of marine equipment unveiled on March 9 would go a long way towards cementing the Nautical Institute’s reputation for true-to-life marine training experiences.

“This equipment is there to prepare them for the possible scenarios they might encounter once they’re out on the ocean,” she added.

“I know that, before very long, these new additions will have paid dividends in terms of the support this will add to the training that our staff and faculty provide each day.”

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Adam Cooke has been a staff writer and columnist for The Reporter since 1999. A native of L’Ardoise, Adam lives in Port Hawkesbury with his wife Cathy.