Where are they now: Samantha Strowbridge

March 5th 2024

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Samantha Strowbridge: From Sea Cadet to Offshore Captain/Master Mariner

How did your early experiences with the Royal Canadian Sea Cadet program influence your decision to pursue a career on the water? 


Around the time I was old enough to join Sea Cadets was when I first decided that I wanted to be a Captain someday. My experiences with Sea Cadets further solidified my career decision as I enjoyed learning a variety of nautical skills. Without a doubt in my mind, the leadership skills and confidence that I gained in Sea Cadets is what would help me succeed in my career. When I first joined the cadet program, I was very shy. Through the weekly training nights, and especially the time at summer camps, I was able to become more confident and break through my shy personality. 


Could you walk us through your career progression at Atlantic Towing, from Cadet to your current role as the first female offshore captain/master? 


My career with Atlantic Towing started in 2010 when I joined the Atlantic Kingfisher as a Navigation Cadet. At this time, I was still in school and needed to complete one year of sea time before graduation from the Nautical Science program at the Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland. Once finished the Nautical Science program I received a job offer as part of the cadet conversion program. I immediately began working in June 2012 I worked as a deckhand and third mate until a full time third mate position became available.  


In 2014, I completed my Chief Mate Unlimited Certificate of Competency with Transport Canada and soon moved into the 2nd Mate position. In 2017, I completed my Master Mariner Certificate of Competency which led to my becoming Chief Mate in 2018. This past summer I had the opportunity to sail as Master for the first time on the Atlantic Raven. I completed two trips and hope to work into a full-time position soon. Throughout my career I have continued to progress through the ranks and Transport Canadas certificate of competencies. In June 2022, I officially received a Bachelor of Maritime Studies, with a major in Maritime Management – an online degree program offered by the School of Maritime Studies at the Marine Institute.  


Could you share a memorable experience or accomplishment during your time as a Cadet that has influenced your commitment to maritime-related activities and led you to your current position? 


One of my most memorable accomplishments with the Sea Cadet program would have to be completing my Marine Engineering program when I was 15 years old. Due to my late birthday, I started cadets after most of my friends but caught up fast. I didn’t really know much about the Marine Engineering program as I always wanted to complete the Boatswain program at summer camps. When I was asked if I wanted to go to HMCS Quadra and complete the program I knew it would be a great opportunity for me. The program taught me a lot and I was thankful for the knowledge when I began my Nautical Science program in university, especially given the Marine Engineering part of my program. I also must mention my two summers as a Buffer at HMCS Acadia! Being out on the water nearly everyday for the full summer with some amazing friends will always hold a special place in my heart. 


How do you think the maritime industry can continue to promote diversity and inclusion, particularly in leadership roles like yours? 


The maritime industry has done a great job of promoting diversity and inclusion in leadership roles over the last number of years. I believe that initiatives such as this and programs such as STEM are doing an excellent job at promoting the different career opportunities. 


Looking ahead, what are your aspirations and goals for your role as offshore captain/master? 


My current goal is to continue to work hard and be sure that I can step up into the next permanent position that becomes available as Master. I really enjoy my current role as Chief Officer and get the opportunity to fill in as Master, now my main goal is to secure a permanent Masters position. 


What advice would you give to Cadets, especially women, who are considering a career in the maritime industry? 


The advice I would give all cadets, whether in the Royal Canadian Sea Cadet program or the Navy League Cadet program, is to take every opportunity that is given to you to learn. All instructional lessons, especially the leadership directed ones, can help regardless of the career path you wish to take. For women looking to get into the maritime industry; I always say to go for it and give it a try. It is a very rewarding career and one that any gender can do. 

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