Anchors aweigh for new mobile marine classroom in Prince Rupert

Aug 22, 2022

na-malsga-aksPrince Rupert, BC – Students at Coast Mountain College will gain hands-on experience with anew mobile marine classroom beginning in September.

"The mobile marine classroom gives students the opportunity to practise coastal natural resources management, ecosystem restoration and environmental monitoring with the tools and technology they will be using once they enter the workforce," said Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and MLA for North Coast. "As alumnus of the applied coastal ecology program, it's fantastic to see how the program has evolved over time to keep up with the latest technology used in the natural resource sector. The mobile marine classroom is an important tool for carrying out the necessary work in protecting and monitoring this important coastal environment and training the future stewards of the north coast region."

The B.C. government provided $250,000 to Coast Mountain College to purchase a new 7.6-metre (27 foot), 12-passenger, aluminum-hulled boat to serve students and staff in the college's applied coastal ecology program. The funding was also used to purchase the following parts and equipment:

  • a crane and winch for lowering and towing equipment;
  • a side-scan sonar;
  • a single-beam echo sounder;
  • a laptop for remotely operated vehicle control;
  • a lifeline, first-aid kit, safety vests, inflatable boat, line puller and handheld radio;
  • underwater cameras;
  • an underwater wi-fi extension line;
  • air drones; and
  • plankton troll nets.

"We need an all-hands-on deck approach to make life better for British Columbians, to create a sustainable economy and to protect our environment," said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. "Our science and technology sectors are being filled with highly skilled graduates, and our government is excited to make investments in relevant and innovative training programs, such as the applied coastal ecology program, that will prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow without having to leave their communities."

The new boat, named Na Malsga Aks, will serve students as a mobile classroom, complete with the latest technology for field studies off the Prince Rupert coast. Indigenous Elders and the college collaborated to name the vessel. Na Malsga Aks means "the story the water tells" in the Laxyuubm Ts'msyen language.

The combined classroom and field-work experience the boat will enable will prepare students for careers in sustainability, ecology, and fish and wildlife conservation. The technical skills students learn in the program are in demand for more than 111,000 anticipated job openings in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) expected in B.C. by 2031.

Investing in programs such as Coast Mountain College's applied coastal ecology program is part of StrongerBC's Future Ready Plan. Future Ready is making education and training more accessible, affordable and relevant to help businesses grow and to prepare British Columbians for the jobs of tomorrow.


Dr. Titi Kunkel, acting vice-president, academic, students and international, Coast Mountain College – 

"We are delighted to have this new marine classroom. This has allowed us to expand our
unique science programs using the latest marine technology. With the grant, we now have a new boat fitted with state-of-the-art technology to provide learners with skills required for careers in environmental and coastal marine science."

Kyla MacIlroy, Coast Mountain College, applied coastal ecology program graduate –

"Getting out on the water not only showcases learning outcomes taught in the classroom but also enhances student skills needed within field-based careers. This is an amazing investment in the applied coastal ecology program. It connects students to various aquatic ecosystems and gives insight into what a future career might hold when working in environmental positions. I am very excited for this new addition to Coast Mountain College and can't wait to see what new and exciting things students will experience."

Quick Facts:

  • Post-secondary institutions in B.C. award more than 10,000 credentials annually in
    science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs that support the tech
  • The tech sector is one of B.C.􀍛s fastest-growing sectors, generating approximately $29 billion in revenue, providing more than 106,000 good-paying jobs and supporting more than 10,200 businesses.
  • Tech-sector workers earn weekly average salaries that are almost 85% higher than the average salary in B.C.
  • The B.C. government has invested millions of dollars in technology programs at postsecondary institutions since 2018.

A backgrounder follows.

Media contact

Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training

Media Relations 



Heather Bastin

Executive Director, External Relations