Cory Nixon, 29, a marine engineer, is one step away from reaching the pinnacle of the ocean-going aspect of his career – becoming a chief engineer – which can only be achieved by his continued acquisition of sea time and experience on large ocean-going vessels, before actually sitting the exam.
Nixon, who currently sails with Carnival Cruise Lines, has completed his unlimited Second Engineer License examinations, as he continues in his career at sea with one of the largest cruise lines in the world.
He is the first Bahamian Second Engineer (unlimited tonnage) to be registered under the Bahamas Maritime Authority.
Nixon said gaining the credential is a major milestone.
“Although the path has been unconventional, uncertain at times and financially taxing, the rewards seem to outweigh the challenges by far,” said Nixon.
He said it represents a major milestone in his career and he is thankful and excited for the added opportunities that the qualification will bring to him.
Nixon is a 2008 graduate of St. Anne’s High School. Upon completion of his secondary education, he knew that taking to the high seas was exactly what he wanted to do. A brief career with yachts and other pleasure craft gave way to his enrollment at the College of The Bahamas (current University of The Bahamas) in 2011, at a time when there was dialogue along the lines of a partnership with a maritime college in the United States. The relationship did not materialize, but Nixon remained focused on his goal of becoming a marine engineer. He was successful in his application to attend the State University of New York (SUNY) Maritime College in the Bronx, New York.
While enrolled at the SUNY Maritime College, he excelled academically, earning his Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Engineering, as summa cum laude, and having the distinction of being named the cadet chief engineer on the school’s training ship T.S. “Empire State” for the duration of his final summer sea training term. He had direct supervision of all engineering cadets on the training cruise. He graduated from SUNY Maritime College in September 2017.
Nixon is passionate about sharing with other young Bahamians the advantages of a career at sea. He said they do not necessarily have to take his route as an engineer, as opportunities exist for those interested in becoming a bridge watch officer, which leads to the acquisition of a captain or unlimited master mariner’s license.
As cruise liners are self-contained communities, he said employment in almost any area that exists ashore, can be found on ocean-going vessels. Nixon said fewer opportunities exist on cargo vessels but the jobs are just as exciting.
“A career at sea affords you the chance of a lifetime to travel the world, visit exotic destinations, become a part of an international crew, all while earning a living.”
Nixon said the perspective gained from working and traveling with his colleagues from many countries is priceless.
According to Clayton Curtis, Bahamas Maritime Cadet Corps (BMCC) coordinator, the opportunity is available to high school students locally to receive an introductory exposure to a life at sea by participating in the BMCC, a program jointly sponsored by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology along with the Ministry of Transport and Local Government.
The BMCC is open to all students in grades 10 through 12 and meets twice weekly. There are cohorts in New Providence, Grand Bahama, Abaco, Eleuthera and Inagua, with consideration being given for expansion to other islands.
Curtis said students should contact their school’s guidance counselors for further information and to obtain registration forms.
Nixon, who was not a member of the BMCC, said he would encourage as many students as possible to register and participate in the program.
Nixon learned of the BMCC at the end of his 11th-grade year, and upon inquiry and consultation with then-coordinator, Dudley Martinborough, who provided him with instruction material, he opted to study on his own, according to Curtis. Nixon started out as a deck officer trainee with a ferry company and earned the Class B license but decided to switch over to the engineering department.