Let me start by welcoming everyone who was elected as a Director at our May Annual General meeting and all of the new members who have joined us this year and those who have rejoined. Without you and your interest in boating safety we would not exist as a strong voice for recreational boating safety throughout North America.
I have taken the following remarks from my message to those who attended our AGM in May:
The boating season this year has gotten off to a very wet start almost all across the country and that trend carried on in parts of the country well into the summer. This has meant dangerous boating conditions caused by very high and fast flowing water. As the water drops boaters begin rushing to get out on the water and they often don't realize that those waters are flowing at very high rates, often ten to twenty times faster than normal. This was the reason that the Trent Severn and Rideau Canal systems were late opening.
These weather patterns may seem out of the ordinary but I suspect that these types of dangerous conditions will increasingly become the new norm throughout the season. All the more reason for us to be promoting our five key messages:
- Wear your lifejacket,
- Don't drink and boat,
- Be prepared, both you and your vessel,
- Get the required training and
- Be aware of cold water conditions and how to deal with them.
Last September our annual Symposium venture into the real North proved to be very successful and informative. This is leading the way for some very important CSBC initiatives and projects in the North that will be taking place over the next three years and, hopefully beyond.
I was particularly impressed by the diversity of this year's CASBA winners. It was great to see that boating safety messaging is being presented by non-traditional organizations and individuals.
By all accounts this year's Boat Show season was excellent. The attendance appeared to be very good and new boat sales were good. This trend seemed be evident all across the country.
I hope this trend is mirrored on the boating safety side, so continued strong effort will need to be carried out by all of us.
My continued concern is that when I look at many of the ad photos and marketing videos there is a noticeable lack of visible lifejacket wear. Usually kids are wearing lifejackets but in most cases, with a few notable exceptions by manufacturers who also happen to be current and past CASBA winners, lifejackets are not even visible in photos, let alone being worn.
My personal challenge to all of us is to see what we can do to encourage visible lifejacket wear in any boating-related promotion and marketing efforts.
My final comment relates to continuing Ways and Means efforts. This is truly going to be our major concern over the next few years and if we cannot find more and creative ways to increase funding support for our ongoing CSBC operations we are going to find ourselves in dire straits. We have experienced these challenges in the past but those challenges will be even greater in the not so distant future unless we are able to find ongoing funding solutions.
Here is where I really need to recognize the support of our sponsors, without whom we would not be able to function at all:
Presenting Sponsor: Coleman/Stearns
Platinum: Brunswick Recreational Products
Gold: Ontario Power Generation and Cook-Reese Memorial Fund
Silver: Mustang, Yamaha and Salus
Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons
Boating Industry Canada
Pattison Outdoor Advertising
Ontario Provincial Police.
My sincere thanks go out to all of these organizations and their representatives.
Happy and Safe Boating,