13-year-old Moose Jaw resident, Brynn Forness will get the opportunity of a lifetime after winning a competition, allowing her to captain the British Royal Navy Ice Patrol Ship HMS Protector.  

Forness says she was blown away after finding out she won the competition.  

“I wasn’t expecting to win,” says Forness joyfully. “Usually, we enter contests, and you don’t usually win, so I was expecting that, but I won and it felt like a dream.”  

After a suggestion from her teacher, Forness entered the British High Commission’s “Captain for a Day” competition, and being the winner, she will have the opportunity to shadow Captain Milly Ingham aboard the vessel. Captain Ingham became the first female in the rank of Captain to command one of the Royal Navy’s ships last year.  

Forness said she was inspired by Captain Ingham becoming the first female Captain in the Royal Navy.  

“It’s really big to see how she runs the ship, and I know there’s a lot of responsibility to this. It’s just incredibly big to shadow the captain.” 

The contest entailed girls between the ages of 12-16 across Canada to submit a video answering the question “This is the first time HMS Protector will visit the Canadian Arctic, what should she do while visiting the region?’ 

“I liked just about everything about it. Going to Halifax, getting to see what I get to do on the ship, and being a captain on a ship for a day. I even get to spend Canada Day in Halifax.” 

Her inspiration behind her video was to show the United Kingdom-based crew, a little taste of Saskatchewan.  

“There’s the Moose behind me, and showing them places around Moose Jaw. Telling them about Moose Jaw, and what I do. I wanted them to see what’s it like here in Saskatchewan and how we don’t always see large boats.” 

The goal of the contest was to inspire more girls and young women to enter the armed forces and is a chance to experience hands-on this state-of-the-art Royal Navy survey vessel. 

In a prepared release, Captain Ingham says she is incredibly excited to welcome Brynn onboard the ship. 

“Her passion and enthusiasm shone through in her application. Giving girls like her the hands-on experience of life on board a Royal Navy Ship is so important as we look to attract more women in the Armed Forces,” says Captain Ingham.  

Forness and her parents will be flown to Halifax, NS, on June 30, where they will meet with Captain Ingham and her crew. During the day she will take part in various exercises including essential navigation, running of the ship, managing crew as well as using HMS Protector’s research and scientific equipment to help carry out missions.  

At the end of the day, she and her parents will have the opportunity to join a British High Commission delegation at the annual Royal Nova Scotia Military Tattoo. 

“I’m most excited about getting to run some of the equipment on the ship. I’m excited to run a crew on the ship as well,” adds Forness.  

This is the first time that HMS Protector has visited Canada. Usually operational in the Antarctic and Southern Hemisphere, the state-of-the-art survey vessel is touring Eastern Canada where it will take part in events aimed at collaboration in the areas of defence, security, science, and climate change. HMS Protector’s primary duties include undertaking hydrographic surveys to improve navigation safety. The ship also provides support to the UK and foreign research stations, as well as assisting the British Antarctic Survey.