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After more than 50 years working on the waves, Pius Doucette calls it a career

After more than 50 years on the draggers and ferries, Pius Doucette, 71, retired recently from Northumberland Ferries Ltd. But, he still plans on keeping busy. Doucette is on a call-in list to serve as captain of the Holiday Island, pictured in the background, when other employees are sick or on vacation.
After more than 50 years on the draggers and ferries, Pius Doucette, 71, retired recently from Northumberland Ferries Ltd. But, he still plans on keeping busy. Doucette is on a call-in list to serve as captain of the Holiday Island, pictured in the background, when other employees are sick or on vacation. - Dave Stewart

Pius Doucette, 71, of Winsloe knew when he was 17-years-old that he had a passion for being on the water.

He spent five years working on a dragger with his father but discovered that fishing wasn’t in his blood.

He also knew that he had a passion for meeting and talking to people.

So, he got a job working on the ferry between P.E.I. and New Brunswick on July 23, 1969. He was second mate on the old Confederation.

Doucette worked that crossing until six months before the Confederation Bridge was finished when he moved into an administration job with the ferry company in Moncton.

He then ended up going to North Sydney, N.S., to take an administration job with the same ferry company before he decided to retire in 2003.

That’s when Northumberland Ferries Ltd. called him and asked if he was willing to come and work for them as a captain on the Holiday Island until retiring this year on June 27.

Doucette said he’s enjoyed every single day he has spent on the boats.

“The first thing you have to do is you have to like your work, which I did.’’

Pius Doucette

“The first thing you have to do is you have to like your work, which I did,’’ Doucette said. “I still do. Although I retired, and I know I’ve been around a while, you still can’t do this stuff on your own. You’ve got to have a good crew.’’

While Doucette is officially retired, he remains on an on-call list, stepping in when someone is ill or on vacation. He vows to do it as long as his health holds out.

In addition to working with good people, he loves meeting passengers.

“People tell me every day it must get monotonous. It never gets monotonous. There’s always something different on every trip but without a good crew I probably wouldn’t have lasted this long.

“Passengers come up to you sometimes and ask you questions about the ship. I’ve been on the ship so long now If I don’t know I should so that always makes me happy, to be able to answer questions.’’

Doucette said he’s also been fortunate to work with great companies such as CN, Marine Atlantic, Coastal Transport and Northumberland Ferries Ltd.

Despite a step into retirement, Doucette has no plans to sit in the rocking chair yet.

“I agreed when I retired (to work) on the Holiday Island only. I don’t work on the Confederation. Too late to learn something new but as long as there is a job available on the Holiday Island, if I’m well, I’ll probably do it.’’

And, when he’s not on the ferry, he plans to golf as much as he can.

“I haven’t played much in the last 15 years. Other than that, I have a place in Florida so I plan on staying there six months a year. As long as the health holds up, that’s what I’ll do.’’


Twitter.com/DveStewart

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