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  • 05/09/2019 12:00 AM

    Making waves with a career in maritime

    A career in maritime should be on everyone’s radar says Port Authority’s Stacey Campbell. Here’s how she plotted her own course in the maritime industry.

    An island nation, Australia’s success relies on its maritime workforce. On sea or onshore, they bring in the ships that carry the goods we all depend on.

    It’s an indispensable industry but a career in maritime is well off the radar for many Australians today.

    “There doesn’t seem to be as much awareness out there regarding careers in the maritime industry,” says Stacey Campbell, Vessel Traffic Services Officer at Port Authority of New South Wales.

    But it seems a career in maritime might be one of employment’s best-kept secrets.


    Image: Port Authority's Stacey Campbell keeps watch

    “Getting paid to work outdoors on or near the water, with great people with a wealth of knowledge, in a diverse and exciting environment with endless opportunity for career progression. I can’t think of too many industries with that on offer,” says Stacey.

    “I fell into the maritime industry almost by chance around 10 years ago. I got my General Purpose Hand qualification to work on vessels on the water and knew straight away that this was the career for me.”

    Since then her career has progressed in roles as varied as the vessels she has worked on — from working on patrol boats at Sydney’s Garden Island naval base; to a deckhand, engineer and master on the city’s ferries; to master of a crane barge servicing Sydney Harbour.

    Image: Members of Port Authority's marine operations team at Port Botany

    Then, four years ago, Stacey joined Port Authority of NSW’s marine operations team to work on the water to ensure the safety of ships, the security of our ports and the protection of the marine environment.

    “I didn’t have a great deal of expectation or prior knowledge of the industry before my career,” says Stacey. “But what was so helpful to me was the willingness of many experienced seafarers to consistently pass on their knowledge.”

    Now working as a Vessel Traffic Services Operator, Stacey finds herself communicating with vessels to assist with their navigation and on-board decision-making processes while in port.

    “There’s so many career options in the maritime industry, whether it be on charter boats, work and towage boats, commercial diving, research vessels, fishing trawlers, offshore shipping — the list is endless. Do your research, find out what marine qualifications you need to start your career and go for it.”

    “It’s a career in an ever-changing environment that brings both excitement and challenges on a daily basis. Be resilient, adaptable and be aware that no two days will ever be the same.”

    And who wouldn’t want that?

    How to make waves in the maritime industry

    1. Get working on the water
      A career in maritime can start anywhere — but most likely on the water. Find a local marine business and get your feet wet.

    2. Plot your course
      Research the many options available to you and find out where you want to go. You might leverage your existing skills (such as engineering) or plot a course all the way to ship’s master.

    3. Get qualified
      To work on the water, you need to get training. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) sets out all the maritime qualifications you’ll need to work in roles on domestic or international vessels

    4. Go to (or go back to) college
      The Australian Maritime College (AMC) specialises in maritime education, training and research.

    5. Get experienced
      Whether a maritime apprenticeship or trainee position, secure yourself a work placement to gain the service levels required by AMSA to begin your career in maritime.

    Find out more about careers with Port Authority of New South Wales