Jacques Gaudet sails into retirement
April 4, 2018 - Campbell River, B.C.
By Gina Forsyth
The first day of Jacques Gaudet’s retirement guarantees the Broughton area won’t be the same come May 4. The crew boat operator sails into the sunset after 27 years as the Crew Boat Operator on the Salmo III.
"I’ve been fortunate to spend so many years working on the water and see lots of wildlife," says the Quebec native.
Jacques initially studied to be a professional chef but then worked on a dairy farm in the late 1970s until the recession hit and work dried up. He made his way west and worked in the B.C. logging industry for a time until the physicality of the job became too much. He decided to take the course that would qualify him to skipper boats and has held the Master Limited for Vessels less than 60 gross tonnes since the summer of 1991.
"My original plan was to make it to Australia but I never got there."
"I love to camp and my playground was the Broughton area," explains Jacques, adding that he began chatting with the manager of the Swanson Island site during one of his camping excursions after he received his certification.
Jacque’s timing was perfect as the company’s boat driver was leaving. He applied in June and started the following month. "I knew the area very well and this was an asset," Jacques says.
When Jacques first began with the company that eventually became Marine Harvest, there were only two crews that had to be transported to and from the sites on a regular basis. When he wasn’t busy moving people, Jacques would tow equipment to and from sites with the crew boat. The days were long, he explains, especially when he had to be up at 2am to catch the tide.
In those days, nets were washed by hand using specialized equipment that Jacques would transport from site to site. He was also responsible for scheduling the net washing at each site in his area.
When Jacques moors the company boat for the last time, he’ll head home to Port McNeill and begin making plans for the rest of his life. Boats and water will continue to be a big part of it.
"I bought a sailboat about a month ago that I can’t wait to get in the water," says Jacques.
For the employee who has spent more than 25 years always having to be in the right place at the right time, the relaxed pace of retirement will be a challenge, but one he’s looking forward to.
When asked for parting advice, Jacques says, "Whatever you do in life, make sure you like it. My job has fulfilled me."