|

Marine Industry Career Path: Darrah James

Darrah James

Aug 2, 2022
Introducing Darrah James, the next graduate in our Boating Industry Canada News Week Digest Canadian marine education series.

Darrah works on the east coast of Canada in Cornwallis, Nova Scotia for Rock Solid Composites as a certified Boat Builder.

She completed her education with the Nova Scotia Boatbuilders Association (NSBA) through Women Unlimited; an east coast program supporting and helping women succeed in trades and technology.

We are proud to share Darrah’s inspiring story about overcoming hardship and adversity in becoming a successful Boat Builder in the marine industry.

Full Name: Darrah James

School: NSCC (Nova Scotia Community College)

Program: Women Unlimited in partnership with Nova Scotia Boatbuilders Association (NSBA): Boat Builder Apprenticeship Program

Graduating Year: 2016

Current Workplace: Rock Solid Composites, Cornwallis, Nova Scotia

What is your background in the marine industry? Tell us a bit about how you got into the marine industry.

My father was a marine engineer and machinist who started on boats at the age of 15. His father (my grandfather) was the 14th man in Canada to be certified as a marine engineer. My father’s uncle, who had a good part in raising me, was a local fisherman. Another uncle close to me built homes and did fine woodworking. I grew up on the water around boats and mechanics, always helping and being taught in the family’s trades. I was always interested in building, fixing and getting my hands dirty.

What made you choose your program and school?

I needed to get back into the work force after being a stay-at-home mother with four children, as my husband was injured at work and could no longer partake. I have a degree as a computer service technician as my family wanted me to become one out of high school. I did this type of work for years, but it never really interested me. My passion was to get into trades and construction of some sort, but I couldn’t even get a position as an assistant because I was a woman.

Having a family that relied on me, I had to stay close to home and needed to make enough to support our household. I then found out about Women Unlimited, a program that assisted women in finding a career path and education into the trades through the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) locally in Bridgewater. That year, the program happened to be in partnership with the Nova Scotia Boatbuilders Association (NSBA). I was lucky to be accepted into their limited space program.

It was then that I started to learn skills including introduction to the Marine Service Technician trade and of course the Boat Building trade.

Darrah's WorkDarrah's Work

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of Darrah’s Boat Building Work

What was your path after graduation and what are you currently doing now?

I was hired straight out of my program after my on-the-job shadowing part of my class work. It was at a local boat shop where I proceeded to learn and construct in the boat building trade. As the work started to slow down, I started networking myself into another position where I currently work now, Rock Solid Composites.

I really enjoy my work from basic construction to fine cabinetry and working with the customers to take their vision and bring it to reality for them.

What kind of practical experience did you get through your program?

Hands on experience in local boat shops and I got to sit in on several trade classes I was interested in at the Community College.

One thing you learned or experienced in your program that you were not expecting?

The help, support and assistance I received in the program was beyond what I expected to receive in any regular educational setting. It was exceptional.

What was a highlight of your program?

I have a short attention span and had severe dyslexia when I was younger. I also have a repetitive mechanical/mathematical/problem solving thought process. Sometimes I have a hard time verbalizing or writing, but I’m much more comfortable with hands on work, which is what my program encouraged and what I excelled at.

What is one piece of advice you could give someone entering the marine industry?

Be open to continue learning. Nothing is ever cookie cutter. It’s an extremely diverse trade, requiring hard work, dedication and a broad range of skill and tools.

Darrah James

What do you hope to accomplish in the marine industry?

To entice more young workers to follow a trades career path, especially women, as I’m one of very few journeymen certified. I strive to be known for my skill and quality of work.

Are you a power boater, sailor, or both?

I enjoy both the speed of power and the tranquility while under sail.

Your fondest/funniest memory out on the water?

I have two great memories of being out on the water. One where I would take trips on my great uncle’s lobster boat out to the islands to hand line whales while watching the sunset.

The other was visiting my father when he came into port on massive vessels. I was able to go onboard to tour them and specifically see their onboard machine shops and enormous engine rooms.

Watch more about Darrah’s story HERE.

Allegra Smith-Herriot is a recent Sport Media graduate from Ryerson University as well as an active sailor and power boater on Georgian Bay. She can be reached at asmithherriot@kerrwil.com

Related Posts





NMMA Canada’s Day on the Hill event hits a new high in 2024

CMRA

While the Day on the Hill lobby session has been a key activity for NMMA Canada for many years now, I feel that the event hit a new high in the 2024 session in Ottawa on May 27 and 28th.

Lead by Executive Director Marie-France MacKinnon and executed by her team and their public affairs firm, BlueSky Strategy Group, the results were impressive. The NMMA Canada Board of Directors were organized into teams with business interests and special skills matched up to politicians and senior bureaucrats to most effectively present the marine industry’s agenda of issues. 

Read More




Need to Catch up on News This Week?

Every Tuesday we publish a fresh Digest with informative articles pertaining to the Canadian boating and marine industry. Stay up to date with the latest products, research and industry developments.

Missed an Issue of Boating Industry Canada News Week? If you’re looking for a specific issue, or simply want to catch up on previous issues, check out our Boating Industry Canada News Week Archives.

Not signed up for News Week? Subscribe here.



The Hydrobike, a key concept that embodies a vision for the future

DECATHLON, determined to erase the boundary between land and water, introduces its latest forward-thinking concept: the HydroBike. This innovation from the French sports giant aims to democratize access to nature while staying ahead in the transformation of their business model. 

The initial assessment: paddle sports are often inaccessible to less experienced individuals, assuming the acquisition of paddling skills.

Read More


Compass works when electronics don’t

Hubbell-Marine Stainless steel outlet covers

Even in the event of an onboard power failure, a Ritchie Navigation SuperSport Helmsman SS-1002 magnetic compass still works. Plus, when the vessel is moving slowly in fog or while trolling, it can do something a GPS can’t: show the actual heading in real time. As a back-up to modern electronics, it’s a vital navigational tool that belongs on every commercial and recreational boat.

Read More