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Part of a special feature celebrating the success of Memorial's graduates. This feature coincides with spring convocation 2017.

By Leslie Earle

Laurier Boudreau has been captivated by the ocean for as long as he can remember.

He first got hooked during his summer visits to Cape St. Mary’s, N.S., spending time in and around boats and even more so following his experiences as a young sailor aboard the tall ship S/V Concordia.

On the water

“Every day in Cape St. Mary’s you could find me in my little boat, fishing and exploring around the wharf and breakwaters,” said Mr. Boudreau. “I found everything to do with the ocean fascinating and my time on the S/V Concordia, visiting more than 40 ports, furthered that interest.”

Fishing for flounder, Cape St. Mary's, Nova Scotia
Laurier Boudreau fishing for flounder in Cape St. Mary’s, N.S., as a boy.
Photo: Submitted

However, after completing high school, Mr. Boudreau chose to follow his father’s career in the telecommunications industry. He obtained a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Toronto and worked in the wireless industry for 10 years. Then, his desire to work on the water finally overpowered his career choice.

“I was sitting in my cubicle in a high-rise office building in downtown Montreal in the late spring of 2012 when I decided it was time to change careers,” said Mr. Boudreau. “It was a difficult decision to leave the security of a well-paying job to start over again but I couldn’t imagine spending the rest of my working life sitting in front of a computer and living in a city far from the ocean.”

Mature student

Mr. Boudreau began the nautical science program at the Fisheries and Marine Institute (MI) of Memorial University that fall. While making the decision to return to school wasn’t easy, Mr. Boudreau said, “That’s the day my girlfriend said I started being happy again.”

“I couldn’t imagine spending the rest of my working life sitting in front of a computer and living in a city far from the ocean.” — Laurier Boudreau

Twice the age of the majority of the students in his class, Mr. Boudreau admits that adjusting to school life as a mature student had its challenges. To compensate for the loss of his salary, he worked extremely hard academically to earn scholarships. The plan was a success: Mr. Boudreau earned nine scholarships during his academic career at MI.

Followed his heart

As graduation nears, Mr. Boudreau says that his desire to work at sea is stronger than ever.

“Without a doubt, I feel that I made the right decision to pursue a career on the ocean.”

Mr. Boudreau, who spent many hours of his youth outside port facility fences watching vessels, knew he had finally charted the right course following the ocean-going components of his academic program.

“The sea phases allowed me to experience commercial shipping operations first hand. The work is unique, interesting and very rewarding. The experiences answered a lifetime of curiosity and solidified my desire to become a navigational officer.”

Laurier Boudreau on his last day of sea phase one, aboard the Atlantic Hawk.
Laurier Boudreau on his last day of sea phase one aboard the Atlantic Hawk.
Photo: Submitted

Mr. Boudreau has also helped other students by sharing the story of his personal journey. In the past few years, he has participated in two career presentations with his work-term employer.

It’s never too late to adjust your sails and change course; Mr. Boudreau has proved it. He will graduate in June with some of the top marks in his class and is looking forward to embarking on his next adventure.

“My career goal is to attain my master mariner certificate of competency as quickly as possible and eventually be a captain aboard a vessel.”

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