Women Making Waves – Bria Kynock

Second Officer – Bay Ferries

Bria Kynock is 24 years old and grew up in the Annapolis Valley. Her family started boating in 2007 when she was nine years old and spent many summers on the water and exploring the many islands of Mahone Bay. This is where her love for the ocean began! She is currently working for Bay Ferries onboard the Fundy Rose as a Second Officer and is hoping to have her Chief Mate Certificate by the end of May. She started with Bay Ferries as a cadet and worked as a relief steward and deckhand until she got her Watchkeeping Mates Certificate. 

1. How did you end up working in or alongside the maritime industry? Please tell us the story of how you got to your current role.

When I finished high school I went to the Marine Institute in Port Hawkesbury, Cape Breton where I spent 4 years studying. The first 3 years were for my Watchkeeping Mate Certificate and the 4th year was for my Chief Mate Certificate. Once the school year was over it was important to get a work placement for the summer to acquire the sea time needed for the certificate. I worked one summer with Secunda Canada and then I finished the rest of my time with Bay Ferries and was hired in a full time position.  

2. What education have you taken a) pre-working in or alongside the maritime industry and b) since joining the maritime industry?

I did 4 years of schooling at the Marine Institute in Port Hawkesbury, Cape Breton. Some courses needed for this certificate are Cargo, Stability, Astro, Meteorology, Chartwork and more. There are also many training courses to do as well such as firefighting, proficiency in survival craft, GMDSS, marine advanced first aid and ships security officer to name a few. Some ships require certain training that others may not so training can depend on the ship you’re working on. Most training certificates expire at some point so there are always refresher courses to take to keep the training certificates valid and keep you up to date with the changes in the industry. 

3. What is the most rewarding thing about working in or alongside this industry?

The most rewarding part of working in the maritime industry is that as a 24 year old female I have seen how my dedication and hard work has paid off in a field that I love. In my current position I work 7 days on and have 7 days off. This allows for me to spend more time with family and friends and travel. Also the pay is very competitive and makes for a comfortable lifestyle.  I am currently studying for a Chief Mates Certificate and thinking of what an accomplishment that will be for me at this age as a woman in this industry. I will be the first female Chief Mate at Bay Ferries. 

4. Did/do you have any female role models in the industry? If so, please tell us about that experience and tips on how to approach someone for mentorship.

I don’t have any female role models in the industry but I am trying to be a role model for other females who are interested in this career. It is important as women in this industry to stick together and share experiences and be there for one another as a support system. I work with a young female currently who someday aspires to be a 2nd Officer as well and I hope that someday I can be a mentor for her. 

5. What is your advice for someone looking to get into this industry in our region? Any important events or associations to be following?

If you are looking to get into this industry in our region it is good to make connections with people who are already in the industry and ask questions and find out information. There are two Marine Institutes in Atlantic Canada that host events and information sessions. If this is something that sparks your interest, take the initiative, follow up with training and education and be confident and comfortable in the role you hope to pursue. Hard work does pay off!