Maritime services: women captains stay the course

Maritime Services: Women Captains Stay the Course


Female ship captains are quite rare in Canada, with a representation of just over 2%, which puts a marine services company in Longueuil in a good position with a proportion 10 times superior of women at the controls of her boats. 

The company in question, Navark, has six women out of its 30 captains, or 20% of its piloting staff.

“There is no there are not many women in the maritime field, confirms Gilles Tanguay, Navark's director of operations. Our environment is naturally welcoming to them. We encourage them, we are proud to see them being proud.”

According to the Institut maritime du Québec (IMQ), 2.3% of captains were women in Canada in 2019. For its part, the Sectoral Workforce Committee for the Maritime Industry (CSMOIM) noted by the through a survey that women represented in 2020 in Quebec between 2 and 3% of captains of medium and large boats, but 26% of captains of small boats. It should be noted that these two organizations are currently led by women.

At Navark, women command, from the Longueuil marina, ships during cruises or river shuttles.

We collected the comments of several of them in order to understand their motivations:

From father to daughter

“My father was a yacht captain, says Emilie Duguay, 31 years old. In 2012, I met a female sailor on a Navark ship. The same evening, I applied. Over time, we gain confidence and users feel it. They no longer ask me “Are you the captain?”

With 11 years of seniority and the 150-ton patent, the native of Longueuil is at the head of the “Navark Archipel”, a ship 19.78 meters long with 200 passengers on two decks.

< strong>For love

Annie Landreville, in her fifties, fell in love 16 years ago with a captain.

“I was not in the business at all, I just wanted to be with him,” she admits. Women are welcome and bring a good mood.”

The Laval native is at the helm of the “Navark Longueuil V”, a 17.43 meter long boat that can accommodate 99 passengers.

More than a hobby

For her part, Mélanie Leathead, in her forties, had been driving pleasure craft for years. During the pandemic, the navigator took training, then brought her CV to the marina.

“I don't regret it, says- she. There's a sense of respect here.”

The former lab technician now pilots a 12-passenger Zodiac and pontoon.

Pure chance

Bianca Depelteau, 19, started at the ticket office.

“When I set foot on a boat one day, I never I didn't want to leave, she recalls. At 18, I therefore obtained the first captain's certificate.

The youngest of all captains at Navark drives boats with a capacity of 12 places or less, such as zodiacs or pontoons. For example, she works on the shuttle linking Boucherville to Grosbois Island in the Îles-de-Boucherville National Park, or takes clients to the company's private island, in the area, for corporate events or weddings.

She helps out

Julie Vajou, 23, had submitted her CV at the age of 16 to a youth employment center and Navark contacted her quickly. The biology student helps out.

“I was captain at 18 and my sailor, Rosalie, was 14, she recalls . Passengers from the golden age were scared at first, then trusted us.