~By Deborah Morrow
At 21 years of age, Hailey McIntyre is on track to becoming the Prince Rupert Port Authority’s first female Captain and she credits the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets for her personal success.
On an overcast North Coast day, as Hailey capably handles the patrol vessel in the picturesque Prince Rupert Harbour, she describes her humble beginnings as a 12 year-old new entry Sea Cadet.
Joining Sea Cadets was not optional in the McIntyre family. Hailey’s mom told her that she had to spend one entire year in Sea Cadets and then she could decide whether or not she would stay in the program. Well before that first year ended, Hailey was hooked; the sea and Sea Cadets were in her blood. She knew her life’s work would involve a maritime career.
Hailey ended that first Sea Cadet year by attending summer camp at HMCS QUADRA, a training centre in a stunning sea side location on Goose Spit in the Comox area on Vancouver Island. A nice perquisite for the Cadets is that they are all paid a stipend to attend their camp courses. Sea Cadets attend a basic course for the first year of summer camp and can choose their ‘trade’ for the next few years. Hailey chose sailing.
Years later, having graduated from the three years in the sail trade, Hailey worked as a staff cadet for the following two summers before ‘aging out’ of cadets at age 18. By then, she had saved enough money from the summer program to pay for her first year of university.
As Hailey navigates through the harbour to Digby Island, she describes how she answered an ad for deckhands for the Prince Rupert Port Authority, four years ago.
“There was stiff competition, but I had real experience and skills from Sea Cadets and from volunteering with Search and Rescue.”
Hailey was hired by Captain(N)(Ret.) Gary Paulson, vice-president of operations at the Prince Rupert Port Authority. Captain Paulson believes in Hailey’s abilities and has provided her with training opportunities ever since. Hailey is nearing completion of her Master Limited 60 Gross Tonne Mariner’s ticket. The Port Authority leadership will continue to invest in Hailey and next she will work towards her 150 Gross Tonne ticket.
“I want to go as big as I can,” said Hailey,
“I’m never going to stop. I would like to become a master mariner some day.”
Hailey has come a long way from the days of sailing dinghy’s and learning basic seamanship skills in the cadet hall of #7 Royal Canadian Sea Cadets Captain Cook. She tributes the officers at the Prince Rupert Corps with providing the guidance, mentorship, skills and great fun it takes to become a well-rounded individual. Hailey feels that she is an ordinary person who was given an extraordinary opportunity to spend time exploring maritime experiences as a youth.
“I wouldn’t have known how much I liked it, if I hadn’t tried it,” she said.
“Every aspect of my life is influenced by Cadets. I think about it every day. It was the best time of my life. When times were tough, cadets was my third parent. There was such a lot of support and friendship-lifelong friendships.” Hailey stops talking a moment to manoeuvre the patrol vessel towards a jetty to pick up a passenger.
“If I achieve my dreams, it will be because of cadets. In truth, I don’t even know who I would be if I hadn’t been a Cadet.”
This September, Hailey McIntyre will become Naval Cadet McIntyre in the Captain Cook Corps where she began her maritime career. She will aspire to give extraordinary opportunities to others on their cadet journeys as so many have given to her.