Unless you’re an active member of the Royal Canadian Navy, stepping foot onto a warship is often restricted to a very select group.
However, Islanders got the unique opportunity for a behind-the-scenes look into HMCS Kingston during a community relations port visit in Charlottetown Sunday.
Sub-Lt. Ted Marr said the ship docked in the capital city to help commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference.
However, it also gave the public a unique opportunity to tour the ship and meet crewmembers.
“It’s Canada’s Navy so everywhere we go we like to showcase the ship to Canadians,” said Marr. “I think Canada suffers from a little bit of a naval blindness, wherever I go people want to know more about it. And so when the ship is open to visitors, it gives Canadians kind of an insight into what our life is like at sea.”
While there was a line-up for most of the day just to get a glimpse inside the vessel, many found meeting the crewmembers to be a highlight of the tour.
For Stratford couple Noel and Helen Thompson, touring the ship could only be described as “excellent.”
“You get a better insight as to what our ship is doing and it’s purpose,” said Noel, who started his career as an apprentice in a shipyard. “This is our tax dollars at work here so it’s important to see.”
“It’s nice to see so many people coming up and looking at it,” added Helen. “That’s good (support) for the crew doing the job as well.”
The ship was completed in 1996 and is a Maritime Coastal Defence Vessel. It is also a multi-role minor war vessel, with a primary mission of coastal surveillance and patrol including; naval operations and exercises, search and rescue, law enforcement, resource protection and fisheries patrol.
Marr said some of the questions often asked are how the food tastes, how much sleep crewmembers get, and what their average day is like.
While the flexible crew fields a variety of missions, one thing that never changes is a passion for the job, said Marr.
“I love my job and I love talking about my job and explaining it to people,” he said. “Everyone is curious to see what it is because it’s very different from most people.”