My most powerful memory of water would’ve been just starting off with my dad, my father owns a marine contracting business out of Lake Erie. We do dredging, boat lifting and insulation, break walls, stuff like that. He used to take me to work when I was really young and let me drag the tug. I remember sitting up on the phone book so I could see over top of the compass when I was wheeling his tug. And the wheel was bigger than I was. That was my first memory, I got pictures of it. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to be a captain so I applied to school and did a couple years at school, then got out and got some experience, and I fell in love with it ever since. They’ve got me working out here on the east coast: Newfoundland and New Brunswick mostly. The last two years I’ve been out in Ottawa. I started as chief meet on a tour boat in Ottawa and I stayed with them for two summers and worked my way up and got a limited master ticket for the vessel in Ottawa – I’m working my way up slowly but surely. Water is where I make my money, I grew up swimming in the lakes and boating and doing all sorts of water sports.
To me, if the water gets polluted or we’re endangering our environment then our later generations, like my kids, they won’t be able to enjoy them as much as I did when I was a kid, to me that’s a scary thought. I couldn’t imagine not being able to swim off my beach in my front yard or taking the boat out to the middle of the lake and just hopping in for a swim. It would’ve been a terrible childhood if I couldn’t do that. My favourite place to swim is definitely in the lakes, I don’t like pools, it’s gotta be an ocean or a lake, pools are just too artificial. In terms of memories with water going to work for my father was a big part of my childhood, taught me from a very young age so that’s a big part of my life.
My name is Jeff Mitchell and I’m from Leamington, Ontario. It is the western point of Lake Erie, so near Pointe Pelee, north shore of Lake Erie. I started working with McKeil back in September, I did my first trip out with them in New Brunswick at the LNG plant, we were doing core samples. My position is McKeil is ordinary seaman or deckhand.