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Navigational Officer

Navigational Officer

Name: Nicole Costain
Company: Canship Ugland


  • Diploma of Technology in Nautical Science,Marine Institute
  • Bridge Watch Certificate,Holland College

Location: Offshore – Shuttle Tanker
Hometown: Roseville, PEI
Currently Living In: St. John’s, NL


Nicole Costain works for Canship Ugland Ltd., on ships involved in transporting oil from production installations off the coast of Newfoundland. Nicole is a Deck/Navigational Officer, which is a junior-level position within her field. She aspires to obtain Master Mariner certification and someday have command of a ship.

Education and Personal Background 

Growing up, Nicole liked spending time on her parents’ fishing boat. This got her interested in other types of vessels and marine environments. Upon finishing high school, she registered in a Bridge Watch course, designed to prepare students for work on the deck of a ship – conducting general maintenance and handling cargo.

“There were both classroom and work term components, so it gave us experience working at sea. A ship captain suggested I further my education at a school like the Marine Institute.”

After successfully completing the Transport Canada exam for the Bridge Watch course, Nicole enrolled in the Nautical Science diploma program. Then she did a brief course in Dynamic Positioning Induction, which helped her get her current job. 

Duties and Work Environment 

In Nicole’s role of Junior Officer, she assists in coordinating the ship’s operations, and supervises and coordinates the activities of crew working on the ship’s navigational bridge. She is required to know how to safely navigate a vessel, and must understand the ship’s navigation procedures and the functions of the ship’s navigation equipment.

“For a junior officer, much time is spent becoming familiar with the ship’s equipment, technology, operational procedures, safety culture, and emergency roles. It helps to consult job cards, ship’s manuals, and certainly any experienced personnel who can offer guidance. The main thing is to not be afraid to ask questions, and be confident in your potential and abilities,” Nicole says.

Even though it is early in her career, Nicole has worked on a number of vessels.

“I’ve spent some time working relief shifts for different companies. I’d suggest to anyone coming into this field to work hard and take opportunities to work on a mix of vessels – it helps make you all the more versatile and all adds to the experience.”

Questions and Answers

What do you enjoy about your job?

What I enjoy most is contributing in a team environment where we all work toward a common goal. This team is like a professional family. You can learn from more experienced ship personnel in your department, and learn different aspects from coworkers in other positions onboard who contribute to the ship’s operation. 

Why did you choose a career in oil and gas? 

I chose to work in this area because it was something different than I had ever done. There is good pay and good leave schedules, and there are team environments and different situations every day to learn from.

What surprised you most about the oil and gas industry? 

I was surprised with how much technology is present in today’s industry. It definitely makes the job feel more guided, safer, and advanced. Having said that, the job certainly still requires your attention, and all workers must learn to adapt to changing scenarios.