Ma­rine At­lantic to the res­cue. Again

Carter fol­lows in fa­ther’s foot­steps to be­come Ma­rine At­lantic cap­tain

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - Front Page - BY JEREMY FRASER CAPE BRE­TON POST [email protected]­ Twit­ter: @CBPost_Jeremy

MV High­landers re­sponds to distress for se­cond time in as many weeks

Ed­i­tor’s note: This is the last in­stal­ment of a three-part se­ries which com­mem­o­rates 120 years of con­nec­tion be­tween Cape Bre­ton and ‘The Rock.’

NORTH SYD­NEY, N.S. – Colin Carter knew from a young age he wanted to make a liv­ing on the sea.

Carter spent many hours on the wa­ter as a child as his fa­ther was a cap­tain for Ma­rine At­lantic, be­fore even­tu­ally mov­ing on to big­ger and bet­ter op­por­tu­ni­ties with larger com­pa­nies.

“My un­cles were cap­tains as well,” Carter said. “There was a lot of sea-go­ing peo­ple in my fam­ily and that re­ally in­spired me in my ca­reer.”

As the years went on, it was clear that Carter would work on a boat. His dream of be­ing a cap­tain even­tu­ally be­came a re­al­ity with Ma­rine At­lantic in 2010.

“In this in­dus­try you can re­ally go all over the world and there’s lots of work,” Carter said. “I liked the idea of work­ing with Ma­rine At­lantic be­cause it was closer to home, and the re­lief sys­tem was re­ally good.”

Carter, a Stephenville, N.L., res­i­dent, said there were many rea­sons why he wanted to stay closer to home and not travel long dis­tance for work.

“I was start­ing a young fam­ily and I re­ally wanted to be closer to them,” Carter said. “You can’t get much closer to home than Ma­rine At­lantic – it can some­times be dif­fi­cult to jug­gle home and work life be­cause you’re still away, but it’s not too bad.”

Carter, 43, isn’t the only ac­tive cap­tain in his fam­ily. His brother, Chris, also works as a cap­tain with Ma­rine At­lantic, how­ever the two have never cap­tained to­gether.

“We have an op­por­tu­nity to see things that peo­ple don’t al­ways get to see, like sun­rises and sun­sets,” Carter said. “They’re amaz­ing to some peo­ple and they en­joy see­ing them, but we take it for granted now be­cause we’ve seen them (sun­rises and sun­sets) so much.”

Over the past eight years, Carter has had many mem­o­rable mo­ments as a cap­tain.

In March 2011, Carter cap­tained the fi­nal cross­ing of the MV Joseph and Clara Small­wood from Port aux Basques to North Syd­ney.

The Small­wood and Cari­bou were both re­placed that year by the MV High­landers and MV Blue Put­tees, two of Ma­rine At­lantic’s cur­rent four ves­sels.

“For a lot of the crew mem­bers, they were dis­ap­pointed to see those ves­sels go be­cause they re­ally en­joyed work­ing on them,” Carter said.

“It was sort of dis­ap­point­ing for me as well be­cause I was used to those ves­sels, and the new ones, I think all the cap­tains didn’t know what to ex­pect at the time, so it was quite dis­ap­point­ing.”

As a cap­tain, the big­gest ad­just­ment to the new ves­sels was get­ting used to han­dling the ship.

“Ev­ery ship is dif­fer­ent how they han­dle, and you have to get used to that – it was a chal­lenge,” Carter said. “We were the first ones go­ing on these ships and we didn’t re­ally have any­one to train us, so we had to get a feel for it.”

An­other chal­leng­ing part of be­ing a cap­tain is mak­ing the de­ci­sion whether or not to sail in in­clement weather con­di­tions.

“We mainly look at the fore­cast and if it looks like the winds could get up too high where we don’t think we would be able to get into dock, we make the de­ci­sion to can­cel the sail­ing,” Carter said.

“The cap­tains will talk to each other and dis­cuss the weather and de­cide from there if a sail­ing can hap­pen. If you have two ex­pe­ri­enced skip­pers, they might de­cide to have a cross­ing if it’s boarder line.”

Out­side of work, Carter has a wife and two sons, all of whom cur­rently live in New­found­land.

“They (my sons) have been on the boat be­fore – it was nice let­ting them see what I do,” Carter said.

Carter’s 14-year-old son has al­ready said he wants to be a cap­tain like his fa­ther one day.

“He’s go­ing to try to keep it in the fam­ily and that’s im­por­tant to me,” Carter said. “It would be in­ter­est­ing to be able to work side-by-side with him.”


Cap­tain Colin Carter stands for a pic­ture over­look­ing the front of the MV High­landers, a ves­sel owned by Ma­rine At­lantic. Carter has been a cap­tain with the com­pany for the past eight years.

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