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Q&A: NSCC Grad Mitchell Kelly Talks Joining Atlantic Towing And Life on The High Seas


Mitchell Kelly is a 2018 graduate of NSCC’s Nautical Institute’s Bridge Watch Rating program. In June, he received an offer of employment as an Able-bodied Deckhand with Atlantic Towing Limited. Deckhands perform watchkeeping, port and maintenance duties, and contribute to the company’s overall safety and environmental mandates.

 Mitchell Kelly - Photo

Over the last 8 weeks, he’s become immersed in his new role. He recently sat down for an interview with JDI about his experiences:

Q: What drew you to a career in marine services?

A: I’ve always wanted to work at sea. I’m from Hantsport, NS originally and recently moved back home from Alberta. I decided to go back to school and focus on something I could make a career of. So, I attended NSCC’s Nautical Institute in Port Hawkesbury and earned my Transport Canada Bridge Watch Rating Certificate. My student experience was great and I enjoyed the Cape Breton campus. It’s a beautiful spot and provides top notch marine training. 

Q: How has your education helped you in your career?

A: The education is a critical pre-requisite for working as a deckhand or Watchman in Canada. It introduced me to the mariner’s trade and made my career aspirations a reality. 

Q: And what have you learned since being on the job?

A: I’ve learned a lot about the scope of Atlantic Towing’s harbor operations both in Halifax, NS, and Saint John, NB. I’ve also been exposed to the more technical aspects of towing barges. So far, my experience with Atlantic Towing has been great. They have quality tugs and reliable equipment that allows me to carry out my duties safely.

Q: If you could tell a student or cadet one thing about working for Atlantic Towing, what would it be?

A: I would say Atlantic Towing absolutely prioritizes safety. The people here are great and we all get along really well. Everyone is willing to help teach and train the new graduates. 

Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?

A: Being on the water. That’s first. I also enjoy working with the different vessels and operations. Atlantic Towing has a diverse fleet dispersed across Atlantic Canada and beyond. There’s lots of room to grow within the organization and to gain experience.

Headquartered in Saint John, NB, Atlantic Towing Limited delivers diverse, award-winning marine service. Over the next three years, the company forecasts adding an additional 170 jobs including over 100 student employment opportunities. 

Atlantic Towing specializes in the provision of a wide range of marine services, including port tug services, coastal towing, and offshore oil and gas exploration and production support. Its world-class vessels are equipped with state of the art technology and experienced, versatile crews with deep seated expertise. Both its crews and land-based personnel are expertly trained and operate with safety, quality of service and teamwork top of mind.

 ATL Tug Boat