If you are out of options to travel to the island of Montreal, Navark is once again offering a river shuttle service this year. At the helm of one of the boats: 19-year-old Lexane Noël, following in the footsteps of her father… and several generations of Noël.

During La Presse’s visit earlier in July to the Longueuil Marina, Lexane was helping his assistants prepare for the fireworks cruise. We met her with her father Normand aboard one of the 28 shuttles owned by the company and which provide 4 of the 6 connections between the South Shore and Montreal.

Navark was founded in 1989 by Normand Noel’s father, Paul-Émile Noel. As far back as she can remember, Lexane has always been involved in the family business.

“I think it’s really a beautiful legacy,” said the young woman. I grew up in that world, of course, and both my parents worked there. I saw pictures of me, very small, on the shuttle. So I’ve always been there and I’ve always been proud to be part of that universe. Especially since the boat is a great working environment, I think it’s great to be able to continue doing that. »

Lexane has already worked on other crossings at Navark last summer, but this will be his first season as captain to do the one between Longueuil and Île Charron, weekends and holidays.

Following her time at the Coast Guard College, Lexane obtained her captain’s certificate, which allowed her to start making sleepers last summer. At 19, she is already well established in the naval environment. “I really like doing the customer service side and I’d rather do it here than anywhere else because we’re on the boats, on the water, and we spend the days outside. It’s really something that I love,” says Lexane.

Is her father comfortable letting her pilot the boat alone, from shore to shore? ” Absolutely ! Norman exclaims. She already has enough experience to carry out her operations. I have no doubt, everything is already settled on that side. »

Due to the weather and the growing popularity of the services, Normand Noel expects to see a particularly busy season this year: more than 300,000 people could board one of the shuttles.

In addition to piloting the boats, Lexane takes care of the administrative and event side of the business. During the off season, she is mainly responsible for managing the operations of the boats. “I take care of areas such as ticketing, logistics and coordination, in order to prepare for the upcoming season,” she says. It keeps me busy since I’m studying at the same time! But I’m really passionate about the job. »

Normand explains that his great-grandfather piloted boats and that the heritage was transmitted from one generation to another, from father to son… and it is now his daughter’s turn to take over.

Today, the father says he is just as proud to see his daughter take the helm of the family boat, after a long line of men before her. Lexane believes that these are big shoes she is about to put on, and it is a task she does not take lightly. She is hopeful of one day seeing more female colleagues around her.

“Of course the industry is changing,” she explains. Ten years ago, there were hardly any women in the maritime sector. »

After having touched on the administrative and event sectors of Navark, Lexane now wants to take advantage of the next few months to master the mechanical side of the boat. His goal for this summer will be to climb the ladder of his captain’s certificate, which will allow him to pilot larger boats.

This summer, Navark’s young captain is spending the season in the field (and on the water!) with her father and continuing her apprenticeship in the shipbuilding industry, before resuming her studies in accounting and management in the fall.