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Anne Miller rising through the ranks of the Canadian Coast Guard


CHANGE ISLANDS, N.L. — Anne Miller gazed out over the water off Change Islands, on Newfoundland's northeast coast.

“I appreciate every time I’m on a boat,” she said. “It’s familiar and comforting.”

The Fogo Island native has spent the last 30 years rising through the ranks of the Canadian Coast Guard.

She is the regional director of Coast Guard Programs for the Atlantic Region — Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island — the first woman to hold the position.

Miller received her navigation certification and served as a coast guard superintendent. She also spent six-and-a-half years as director of the coast guard fleet for the Maritimes region before transferring to the program side of coast guard operations.

She is now responsible for marine environmental response programs, coast guard search and rescue, navigational aid, aids to navigation program, all radio stations and icebreaker programs in Atlantic Canada.

Miller’s passion for the ocean was ignited long before she stepped on a coast guard vessel.

RELATED: History is her story, too 

Growing up on a boat

Miller’s father and grandfather, both named Paddy, were sea captains. Her mother is from Carbonear.

Her father started the Fogo Island ferry service, where Miller signed on at the age of 11.

“I went to sea with my dad from a very early age so my first memory of going to sea was that I grew up on a boat,” she said. “I don’t know when my first time on a boat was, but it was a part of our family, we talked about our boats like they were children.”

Miller’s father owned cargo boats, survey boats, fishing boats and she recalled going to the front with him during her first year of college for the annual seal hunt.

“It was an annual event for our family business and the family,” she said. “I’m still very proud of Newfoundland’s seal hunting history and our family’s part in that.”

The fact that the whole family business was marine-oriented played a huge role in Miller’s career choice.

“Going to sea as a career choice wasn’t even a decision, it was just something I knew I was going to do,” Miller said.

 

Career

Working with the coast guard wasn’t necessarily a path Miller chose, but more a route she ended up taking.

Upon completion of the nautical science program at the Marine Institute, Miller seized an opportunity to gain experience outside the family business, working on science ships including the Baffin and the Hudson.

In 1995 she began working with the coast guard even though she didn’t attend the Coast Guard College or work on a coast guard ship. Miller had been working on a Fisheries and Oceans ship used for patrolling the waters around Nova Scotia.

 

Connection

Miller currently resides in Nova Scotia with her husband and two children.

“It’s a closest you can get to living home, but not living home,” she said. “It’s still a very marine-centred province and the people are friendly.”

Miller said her favourite part about her job is, “Going to sea, without going to sea.”

Her goal, when starting out in her career, was to go to sea. Like many people, dynamics shifted when she had children and Miller chose to come ashore to work.

“When you’re doing a job like I’m doing now you can still delve back into that operational side that you miss by working inshore,” she said. “It’s the people too, you still get to work with that are involved in operations or going to sea so it’s the operational environment and the people — those are my favourite.”

 

Non-traditional role

When Miller started her journey there were very few women in the industry. There are still limited numbers of women in her field, but more than there used to be she noted.

“I think people are more accepting that women can do this, although I didn’t ever run into any huge opposition to me doing it 30 years ago,” she said. “Gender is not something that should be taken into consideration anymore.”

 Editor's note: Miller's story was originally shared Sept. 7, 2016, as From At home on the water.

christy.janes@pilotnl.ca

“I appreciate every time I’m on a boat,” she said. “It’s familiar and comforting.”

The Fogo Island native has spent the last 30 years rising through the ranks of the Canadian Coast Guard.

She is the regional director of Coast Guard Programs for the Atlantic Region — Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island — the first woman to hold the position.

Miller received her navigation certification and served as a coast guard superintendent. She also spent six-and-a-half years as director of the coast guard fleet for the Maritimes region before transferring to the program side of coast guard operations.

She is now responsible for marine environmental response programs, coast guard search and rescue, navigational aid, aids to navigation program, all radio stations and icebreaker programs in Atlantic Canada.

Miller’s passion for the ocean was ignited long before she stepped on a coast guard vessel.

RELATED: History is her story, too 

Growing up on a boat

Miller’s father and grandfather, both named Paddy, were sea captains. Her mother is from Carbonear.

Her father started the Fogo Island ferry service, where Miller signed on at the age of 11.

“I went to sea with my dad from a very early age so my first memory of going to sea was that I grew up on a boat,” she said. “I don’t know when my first time on a boat was, but it was a part of our family, we talked about our boats like they were children.”

Miller’s father owned cargo boats, survey boats, fishing boats and she recalled going to the front with him during her first year of college for the annual seal hunt.

“It was an annual event for our family business and the family,” she said. “I’m still very proud of Newfoundland’s seal hunting history and our family’s part in that.”

The fact that the whole family business was marine-oriented played a huge role in Miller’s career choice.

“Going to sea as a career choice wasn’t even a decision, it was just something I knew I was going to do,” Miller said.

 

Career

Working with the coast guard wasn’t necessarily a path Miller chose, but more a route she ended up taking.

Upon completion of the nautical science program at the Marine Institute, Miller seized an opportunity to gain experience outside the family business, working on science ships including the Baffin and the Hudson.

In 1995 she began working with the coast guard even though she didn’t attend the Coast Guard College or work on a coast guard ship. Miller had been working on a Fisheries and Oceans ship used for patrolling the waters around Nova Scotia.

 

Connection

Miller currently resides in Nova Scotia with her husband and two children.

“It’s a closest you can get to living home, but not living home,” she said. “It’s still a very marine-centred province and the people are friendly.”

Miller said her favourite part about her job is, “Going to sea, without going to sea.”

Her goal, when starting out in her career, was to go to sea. Like many people, dynamics shifted when she had children and Miller chose to come ashore to work.

“When you’re doing a job like I’m doing now you can still delve back into that operational side that you miss by working inshore,” she said. “It’s the people too, you still get to work with that are involved in operations or going to sea so it’s the operational environment and the people — those are my favourite.”

 

Non-traditional role

When Miller started her journey there were very few women in the industry. There are still limited numbers of women in her field, but more than there used to be she noted.

“I think people are more accepting that women can do this, although I didn’t ever run into any huge opposition to me doing it 30 years ago,” she said. “Gender is not something that should be taken into consideration anymore.”

 Editor's note: Miller's story was originally shared Sept. 7, 2016, as From At home on the water.

christy.janes@pilotnl.ca

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