Passion is a virtue, and that is something that Mr. Jacques Drouin demonstrated to the Marina de Hull on July 29th, 2018 when a boat engulfed in flames floated towards its docking area. An avid boater and involved member of the Navy League of Canada’s Outaouais Branch, Jacques Drouin triples up as the manager of the Hull de Marina in Gatineau, Quebec. Between the historic POGO boat that the Yachting Club hosts, Jacques, and the few seconds that he had to react, the Marina was prevented from combusting into flames.

Jacques Drouin first joined the Navy League in 1997 as a result of his undying love for all things boat-related. He is currently a member of a Navy League committee as boat director, and has been a volunteer since he first joined in ‘97. Usually Navy League of Canada volunteers germinate from their children joining cadets, but Jacques’ scenario is the inverse. After many years of hard work and dedication with the Navy League, Jacques’ children decided to join as Sea Cadets to witness first-hand what community Jacques has been a part of for two decades.Jacques’ history with boats is perpetual. His voyage as a boater began with taking up canoeing at the age of 15, and segued into catamaran sailing. Not only did he sail on catamarans, but he built one— he went to Trois Rivières for 10 days as a mere teenager to study and practice sailing. When he turned 16, he began taking versatile sailing courses, and proceeded to complete race courses as a Navy League committee member. Racing was something that Jacques fell in love with, and eventually, he became a race director for the North American Sailing Race with 70 boats on the boatswain.

Today, Jacques likes to dedicate as much of his time as possible to rebuilding electrical systems in boats. He is well-versed with the anatomy of boats, as he makes a trip every morning on his own 16-footer; 22 years ago, one of these daily trips was where Jacques was first scouted by Marc Laplane to join the Navy League. Since then, Jacques continues to regularly enhance his adeptness with boats through conducting search and rescue courses.Jacques’ boat-savviness saved the day for the Marina de Hull on the morning of July 31st, 2018. This is when the ignited fibreglass boat was spotted floating towards the Marina— at that exact moment, Jacques had just arrived at work, and heard panicked discourse transpiring over the radios. In response, Jacques hopped out of his car and ran down to the Marina where he asked two of his staff to prepare the mighty POGO boat and detach its dot lines. The POGO is the oldest aluminum RCN motorboat that was inherited by the Yachting Club; the reason that Jacques decided to take this boat out on his mission was because aluminum is significantly less flammable than fibreglass.“It was fate that I arrived when I did… I had seconds to react. If I had arrived three minutes later, the Marina would have been on fire.” -Jacques Drouin

Jacques’ boat-savviness saved the day for the Marina de Hull on the morning of July 31st, 2018. This is when the ignited fibreglass boat was spotted floating towards the Marina— at that exact moment, Jacques had just arrived at work, and heard panicked discourse transpiring over the radios. In response, Jacques hopped out of his car and ran down to the Marina where he asked two of his staff to prepare the mighty POGO boat and detach its dot lines. The POGO is the oldest aluminum RCN motorboat that was inherited by the Yachting Club; the reason that Jacques decided to take this boat out on his mission was because aluminum is significantly less flammable than fibreglass.“It was fate that I arrived when I did… I had seconds to react. If I had arrived three minutes later, the Marina would have been on fire.” -Jacques Drouin

Headshot of Jacques Drouin.

The navigator of the boat had jumped into the water to save himself long before the boat had reached the Marina de Hull, so Jacques’ primary goal was to push the burning boat down river. Once Jacques and his crew ensured there were no caveats in approaching the combusted boat, they sprung into action aboard the POGO. This team of outstanding individuals managed to use the POGO to tap the burning boat with just enough force to send it in the opposite direction of the Marina— Jacques claimed that if they had been delayed by three mere seconds, the Marina de Hull would have been devastated by fire.

Bravo Zulu Jacques Drouin and congratulations for being such a courageous volunteer for the Navy League of Canada!

The POGO boat.