HMCS Nanaimo showcases ship to Raven Recruits

Photo by MARPAC Imaging

Photo by MARPAC Imaging

A/SLt Michelle Scott, MARPAC Public Affairs ~

Recruits from the Raven program got a taste of life at sea during a day sail on board HMCS Nanaimo on July 29.

Forty recruits plus staff joined the ship for a day of manoeuvres, damage control exercises and a demonstration by a CH-149 Cormorant from 19 Wing Comox – which included HMCS Nanaimo’s rescue swimmers being hoisted out of the water and onto the ship.

The Cormorant visit not only enriched the crew’s training but highlighted what the ship can do, in hopes of inspiring the recruits to become Royal Canadian Navy sailors.

The Raven program is designed to build bridges into Indigenous communities throughout Canada and show young Indigenous people their potential for part-time employment or a full-time career with the Canadian Armed Forces.

“I thought it was important for Nanaimo to do the day sail. I’ve seen the program and the sailors it produces, and it’s worth it if we gain some sailors through what they experience during the sail,” said Commander Jason Bergen, HMCS Nanaimo’s Commanding Officer. “Today allows us to highlight the capability of the ship and its routine, and it introduces the Ravens to a crew they could possibly work with one day.”

Shortly after Nanaimo exited Esquimalt Harbour, Cdr Bergen made an announcement over the ship’s speaker stating the first shipboard activity was about to start – a demonstration of the Maritime Coastal Defence Vessel’s manoeuverability.

“We’re going to do a hockey stop,” he said. The recruits stood on the fo’c’sle of the ship, holding onto the guard rails, unsure of what was coming. Then the ship listed heavily to the port side and you could hear their excited shrieks and giggles.

“The manoeuvres were my favourite; they were pretty cool,” said OS Anjbizhaa John, 16, from Manitoulin Island, ON. This was also her first time on the ocean. “You get to experience a part of the navy in the barracks, but being on a day sail really opens your eyes to what it’s like to live on a ship.”

Part of their experience included putting on firefighting gear and manning the hose, watching the ship’s crew conduct a fire training exercise complete with smoke machines, and the up-close visit of the Cormorant.

PO2 Michelle Howell, Raven Senior Instructor, said the day sail is an essential part of the program and is often what convinces a recruit to consider joining the navy.

“The Raven program has evolved over the years. Now a recruit can component transfer into a Regular Force trade directly after the Raven BMQ. So having the opportunity to familiarize themselves with sea-going trades, will hopefully aid in their element and trade choice later on.”

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