Captain Harry Johnston has joined NIC’s marine training team and will teach expanded marine training offerings at NIC’s Port Alberni campus, starting this spring. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

North Island College brings marine training to Port Alberni

Marine Training instructor Captain Harry Johnston joins NIC team

North Island College (NIC) will be expanding its marine training offerings to its Port Alberni campus.

NIC currently offers a range of marine safety and training courses for students at its Campbell River campus. The Transport Canada-approved training includes marine first aid, chartwork and pilotage and restricted operator certificates.

“Our goal is to offer a range of certifications to support whatever stage of your maritime career you are in,” said Lynne MacFadgen, NIC regional director of Continuing Education and Training. “We’re thrilled to be able to now offer these important safety courses at both our Campbell River and Port Alberni campuses.”

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The expanded course offerings are made possible thanks to the hiring of new Marine Training instructor Captain Harry Johnston, who joined NIC this spring and is based in Port Alberni.

Johnston was a part of the Canadian Navy for a decade and transitioned into working in the merchant service in various capacities. He brings more than 30 years of experience working on the water in the Arctic, tropics and on the B.C. Coast. He’s worked on variety of vessels from freighters and research vessels to small ferries.

“Marine safety is so important, especially for those working off the west coast,” said Johnston. “I’m looking forward to working with new and experienced mariners to help them get their marine certificates from Transport Canada and strong knowledge of what you need to do to work safely on the water.”

The first course offerings at the Port Alberni campus were originally supposed to start at the end of March. They include Small Vessel Operator Proficiency (NAU-005), Small Non-Pleasure Domestic Vessel Basic Safety (MED-003), formerly known as MED A3, and Restricted Operator Certificate – Maritime (NAU-016).

NIC plans to offer longer courses in navigation safety and chartwork and pilotage at the Port Alberni campus for more experienced mariners working towards their Master Limited 60 Ton or Fishing Master IV, starting in Fall 2020.

“We know how important this training is to the coast and I’m so grateful for the hard work of our marine training team in bringing these incredible new instructors and training opportunities to our communities,” said MacFadgen.

For more information on NIC’s Marine Training courses, visit

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