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Marty Robitaille

Hovercraft Captain
Canadian Coast Guard
Marty Robitaille pilotant un aéroglisseur

Marty Robitaille piloting the hovercraft

Marty Robitaille pilotant un aéroglisseur

Marty Robitaille piloting the hovercraft

About me

I was born/grew up in: Joliette, Quebec

I now live in: Joliette, Quebec

I completed my training/education at: I completed a Bachelor in Environmental Geography. From here I attended the Institute Maritime du Quebec

What I do at work

I captain a hovercraft in the Canadian Coast Guard. A Captain does much more than just piloting and navigating the hovercraft. I also plan and supervise the safe operation of the hovercraft missions. These missions can include such things as doing maintenance on navigation buoys. Other missions include search and rescue as well as icebreaking.

Navigation and piloting skills require a good knowledge and understanding of math. As is the case with any managing position, I have other responsibilities. For example, I have to deal with financial responsibilities such as planning and managing an operating budget. I also set working schedules for the people I manage and deal with logistics. 

On the water, I must understand, predict and deal with meteorological phenomenon. I also have to understand the tides and geographic features of the location where we are working. This helps me keep the crew and boat safe. Communication with my team is probably the most important thing I have to deal with. At the same time, it is the most difficult thing I have to deal with! Making sure that all of my crewmember are on the same page, know and understand their teammate’s job, responsibilities, is crucial for a safe mission.

My career path is

I was always interested in the outdoors. I went to university and completed a Bachelor in Environmental Geography. From here I went to the Institute Maritime du Quebec where I studied nautical science and navigation. After I graduated, I was a navigation officer in the Merchant Navy. I had an opportunity to do a month relief on a small Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker. During that month, I was offered a year contract at the Hovercraft Unit... and I never left!!!

I am motivated by

Although year after year we know what we will doing at a certain time of the year, even if we have a plan for the day, we never really know what will happen during the day! We must adapt to every situation. Sometimes, I must revise and change my plans 10 to 15 times a day!!! 

How I affect peoples’ lives

Depending on the mission, my job affects peoples’ lives in different ways. This could be rescuing a stranded boater or making the buoys other vessels use are working properly so they don’t get into trouble. It could also be helping prevent flooding to peoples’ property by breaking the ice on a river so ice dams don’t form.

Outside of work I

Riding my motorcycle, snowshoeing, video games, reading, and wine tasting!

My advice to others

Be a sponge! Listen, ask question to the people with who you are working with. Soon you will be at the top of the ladder and then, everyone is looking at you!

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Business & Economics
  • Geography
  • History
  • Physical Education/Health
  • Science
  • Technology
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Enjoyed doing things on my own
  • Organized activities for my friends
  • Was motivated by success
  • Wanted to be in charge
  • Played video games
  • Wasn't sure what I wanted to do
  • Learned best “by doing"

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