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New degree of safety

MI introduces safety management major to maritime studies degree

Student Life

By Kim Thornhill

Who do global marine companies turn to when they need expertise in implementing comprehensive safety strategies?

That’s a question the Marine Institute’s School of Maritime Studies is helping to answer with the launch of its bachelor of maritime studies (safety management) degree program starting this fall.

New major first of its kind

While the bachelor of maritime studies has been offered since the mid-1990s, this new major in safety management will focus on preparing professionals in the areas of maritime health and safety, environment, security and quality for the oceans sector.

The program consists of 39 credit hours and is the first of its kind in Canada as a bachelor degree. Delivered entirely online, programs of this type are not readily available from Canadian institutions for employed practitioners seeking to balance educational needs with ongoing work and other responsibilities.

“The bachelor of maritime studies (safety management) opens new opportunities for early and mid-career professionals to obtain a degree in this emerging safety field, where few educational and online options exist throughout Canada,” said Fred Anstey, head, School of Maritime Studies.

The program will focus on developing essential skills to lead and contribute to the evolution of a safety culture for a variety of organizations, such as shipping companies, that operate in the maritime sector worldwide. Graduates will be equipped with competencies to implement, maintain and promote safety, environment and quality management systems.

Rising demand

The bachelor of maritime studies (safety management) program comes at a time when the oceans and hazardous environments-related sectors face increasing and ongoing demand for education and training along with a demonstrated will on the part of governments to encourage activity in this sector.

Capt. Fabian Lambert, assistant head for the School of Maritime Studies, says the new program will help meet the demand safety management professionals.

“We have every expectation that the safety management field is going to grow over the next five years,” he said. “It will continue to develop as an essential business operation as new shipping routes and new technologies are introduced, and as more oceans-related companies look to operate within the same marine space.”

Throughout Canada, marine accidents each year underline the need for safety management training. According to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, in 2016 there were 304 marine accidents reported in Canadian waters, a 22.6 per cent increase over the previous year.

“Engagement and commitment are key to a successful safety strategy.” — Fred Anstey

A number of factors are driving marine safety management to the forefront in the oceans sector. Along with new regulations in the fishing and marine transportation industries and evolving occupational health and safety laws, Canada’s $1.5-billion Oceans Protection Plan seeks to achieve a world-leading marine safety system to improve marine safety and responsible shipping, and to protect the country’s marine environment.

Globally, companies are also under pressure to demonstrate meaningful and measurable commitments to their safety practices along with continuous improvement and training.

“Ultimately, we want to provide the ocean and marine sectors with individuals who can provide leadership in effectively managing risk and making maritime operations safer,” said Mr. Anstey. “Engagement and commitment are key to a successful safety strategy. That is the attitude we want our graduates to take with them as marine safety professionals into their companies as an outcome of this program.”

More information

Applications for the new program major are now being accepted for the fall 2019 semester. The deadline to apply is June 15, 2019.  Prospective students may also be admitted during the winter and spring semesters.

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