Blogs (Media Centre)




TAFE NSW graduate Arakel Hamamdjian pursued the job of his dreams and became the skipper of his own vessel. Now he’s worked his way up from showboat waiter to proud owner of his own business – Magic Cruises – and wants others to consider a swashbuckling career on the high seas.

The maritime sector has an estimated annual revenue of $5.76 billion and added approximately $2.58 billion to the Australian economy in 2017[1]. Domestic Commercial Vessels (DCV) in New South Wales have continued to operate during COVID-19 with social distancing measures in place, allowing local holidaymakers to enjoy recreation activities without having to travel interstate or overseas.

Arakel fell into the maritime industry largely by accident, taking a job as a waiter on showboats at the age of 21. He worked his way up until he became one of the cruise directors on the vessels and continued to work in the hospitality side of the business. He enjoyed his work but had always harboured a dream to own his own vessel and run a business.

Arakel said, “I decided to purchase the charter vessel ‘Magic’ in 2015. It was something I had wanted to do for many years and when the opportunity presented itself, I jumped on it.

“Becoming a captain wasn’t something I had envisioned when I was leaving school  however now that I am a Certified Master Class 4 with the opportunity to continue my studies and upgrade my qualifications into the future, I feel blessed and confident in what the future holds for me.”

TAFE NSW maritime operations and marine engineering experts deliver a wide range of marine qualifications in state-of-the-art facilities across the state and online with TAFE Digital. Students can advance their practical skills using the latest, high-quality simulated training equipment and on the water.

Arakel has now completed his Certificates II, III and IV in Maritime Operations at TAFE NSW and launched his own charter business – Magic Cruises - offering Sydney Harbour cruises to groups for special events and celebrations. 

Arakel said the high quality of training and incredible facilities available at TAFE NSW kept him coming back to continue to grow his qualifications.

“The TAFE NSW marine equipment is the same as you would expect on any large ship. I have enjoyed the opportunity to learn about and use the incredible electronic equipment and marine simulator.”

TAFE NSW Head Teacher of Maritime Operations, Mario Murzello, said the maritime industry was the perfect choice of career as the COVID-19 pandemic eased.

“Charter vessels have continued to operate during the COVID-19 crisis and a maritime career has good long-term job prospects,” Mario said.

“As the pandemic eases, there will be more opportunities for maritime businesses so now is the perfect time to commence training at TAFE NSW to get into the industry.”

Enrolments are now open for Semester 2, 2020. To learn more about the range of Maritime courses at TAFE NSW visit or call 131 601.

Media contact: Alice Dalley, TAFE NSW Media and Communications Business Partner,, mobile 0402 528 210.