December 2021
CSBC Newsletter - December 2021
In This Issue

  • Message from the Chair
  • CASBAs
  • More Boaters, More Need
  • Lifejacket Standards in Australia
  • In Brief
Message from the Chair
The CSBC has been very busy this Fall and since you last heard from me in August. Although all of our major activities have remained virtual, the business of the CSBC has continued. Our second successful Virtual Symposium was held on October 1st and you had a full report in the October News Splash. Again, thank you to Director Lawrence Jacobs and his team for a successful presentation of Welcome to New Boaters – How Can We Help?”  One week following we held our Board meeting virtually, with great participation and enthusiasm….it seems that we still can carry on business successfully in this manner, although seeing real faces is always such a good feeling. Along with the October Board Meeting we had our Volunteer Recognition Awards and my thanks to Director Peter Heard for heading up this committee. The very worthy recipients were all listed in the October News Splash and I add my personal Congratulations and thanks to each of you….the lifeblood that keeps the CSBC as vibrant as it is. Your Executive Committee has met three times this fall and continues to review all of our programs, strategic and business plans, keeping a sharp eye on finances and staying abreast of national and international events that affect safe and responsible boating. There are other activities ongoing that I will address separately.
The first activity I want to report on separately is the Virtual Cold Water Workshops (CWW). I just attended the November CWW. What an eye-opener and worthwhile experience! No, I am not a first responder, member of a policing service nor in a perceived position to have a need for a CWW….this is where anyone in my position is wrong…..the CWW is applicable to all….to me as an individual, to those who are working on the waters and to you….it might just be the workshop that saves your life or that of someone close to you. I would like to thank Director Ian Gilson, the CSBC Manager of CWW, John McMullen, the CSBC Executive Support Officer who works with Ian and of course Dr. Gordon Giesbrecht who presents the workshops….I have my Certificate of Participation….you can get yours. See further information on CWW at
The second activity I want to report on is the Canadian Safe Boating Awards (CASBAs). I know we missed last year, but we are back for this January. There is information later in this Newsletter, but I would like to thank Director Brenda Reeve and her panel of judges for making the selection of recipients and to her committee for all the work in preparing for the live event on January 23 at the National Yacht Club in Toronto.
Our Education Director, Barbara Byers, oversees the development and implementation of our Public Safety/Transport Canada sponsored programs. Currently we have:
  • Weather to Boat (you can download the FREE app)
  • SARsmart
  • Boss/RTF – Boating Safety Speaks/Research that Floats
  • Northern Youth SuperSAR
  • Better Boater.
My thanks to Barbara, Playsafe Productions and the rest of her team for these and the many programs they have implemented over the past few years. Want to know more about these… me at
Since mid-September, I have attended six different meetings/conferences all related to Boating Safety ,with probably a different twist to each one. This keeps the CSBC involved and current on what is happening in both Canada and the United States. All events have been virtual. Starting September 26, the following are the organizations I interacted with at Board meetings, Annual Meetings, Seminars and Symposiums: National Safe Boating Council (US); Canadian Safe Boating Council; Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons; Canadian Marine Advisory Council (CMAC - Transport Canada) and the Standing Committee on Recreational Boating (TC), National Recreational Boating Advisory Council (NRBAC – Transport Canada).
There was certainly a lot to be gleaned from all of the above and I am not really allowed that much space to summarize all that happened, but I will try and give you some highlights….and in no particular order.
  • Statistics – no matter which meeting, the cruel reality is that the accident and fatality statistics are still there and rising as the number of new boaters continues to increase.
  • Per the US Coast Guard 2020 Recreational Boating Statistics, alcohol use is the leading contributing factor to deaths
  • The first bullet obviously leads to discussions on lifejacket wear, harmonization, who to wear, maintenance of inflatables, mandatory wear and a wide range of variable issues regarding lifejackets
  • The environment continues to be a leading issue in many discussions. The effect on our waterways and all those that belong on or in the waterways especially the marine life
  • A page from the environment book is the derelict and abandoned vessel issue….a worldwide problem. It is being addressed more today than before at the National, Provincial and State levels. Pro-active measures are becoming key in some areas.
  • Education cannot be stressed enough. It is a discussion and action item almost everywhere I go. It is not just the education of those using our waterways, it is the education of the instructors also to ensure the proper message is being received.
  • Electronic Visual Distress Signals Electronic Visual Distress Signals in lieu of Pyrotechnic Distress Signals on pleasure craft is now policy.
  • An Electronic Visual Distress Signal Device (eVDSD) can be carried instead of all approved rocket parachute flares, multi-star flares, hand flares or a watertight flashlight if:
  • A smoke signal is carried for daylight; and
  • A Product Certification Body (PCB) determines that the eVDSD meets standard RTCM 13200.0 or is approved by the US Coast Guard
  • Paddle sports or human powered craft continue to be a discussion point with reference to much of what is written above…statistics, education, shared waterways etc. The latest issue is now the propeller-driven surfboard-type vessels
  • Cold Water Immersion is applicable to most of our boating waterways in Canada and US. Possible interventions are always being discussed and of course, the promotion of the CSBC Cold Water Workshops is always relevant.
  • Updates continue on user fees for the Pleasure Craft Licensing (PCL) system and the Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) system
  • Noise emission of vessels in small lakes in particular continues to be a discussion
  • The importance of Social Media has been stressed everywhere as to how to get the message out there in today’s evolving world.
As you can see, much of the above includes the elements of the CSBC five key Boating Safety messages:
  1. Wear your lifejacket
  2. Boat sober
  3. Take a boating course
  4. Be prepared – you and your vessel
  5. Beware of cold water risks.
As I close, I want to thank you for your continued support of the Canadian Safe Boating Council….both group and individual memberships have increased this year. Also, a big Thank You to our presenting sponsor Stearns. Thank you to all of you who are promoting and advocating the Safe and Responsible Boating message. It is not just the CSBC, it is everyone who needs to think and promote boating safety… Canada and Internationally.
I know the editor of this Newsletter would like to possibly edit this out, but I would like to thank Director Jean Murray for her exceptional efforts to produce the Newsletters and News Splashes for the CSBC….all professionally presented….thank you Jean.
Wishing all of you a Happy and Safe Holiday Season.


Joe Gatfield
Canadian Safe Boating Awards (CASBAs)
The CASBAs committee has met and selected this year’s winners. We missed you last year, and would like to welcome you back to our in-person event, which will celebrate two years of excellence. Join us on Sunday January 23, 2022 at the National Yacht Club in Toronto to hear about these heroes who warrant special recognition in the fields of recreational boating safety and environmental stewardship. Registration and additional information are on the website at under Events.
More Boaters, More Need
Thinking of a worthwhile cause to support in 2022? If you are not already a member of the Canadian Safe Boating Council, why not consider becoming one? Both individual and organizational memberships are available. The number of new boaters has increased dramatically, in large part due to COVID-19. Consequently, there is all the more need for the well-regarded boater safety education programs delivered by the CSBC. However, we can only do this with your support. To check out CSC membership and its benefits, including a 40% discount on all Stearns lifejackets and Coleman products, go to
Lifejacket standards in Australia
By CSBC Special Correspondent Peter Hopkins, Marine and Safety Tasmania
Summer is fast approaching and as I sit down and write this, a low-pressure system makes its way through Bass Strait bringing heavy rain to the east coast of Tasmania.

It has been three years this month since my last visit to the Canadian Safe Boating Council Symposium in Victoria, BC. What a fabulous city and a wonderful group of people my wife Lisa and I met whilst over there. If you recall, my presentation centred around fatalities in Tasmania and our concerns with inflatable life jackets and aspects of the Australian Standard which Marine and Safety Tasmania considered needed changing.

On my return from Canada our concerns were added as an agenda item at the Australian New Zealand Safe Boating Education Group (ANZSBEG) meeting in November. This group is made up of all Australian States and Territories, Surf Life Saving Australia, Royal Life Saving and members from New Zealand including Baz Kirk, who is well known to you all at the CSBC.  

Concerns regarding a few aspects of the Standard were discussed and I was asked to prepare a proposal to Standards Australia with recommended changes. This was finally submitted to Standards in mid-2019 for consideration and the committee was re-formed to consider the changes.

Following many virtual meetings since 2019, the changes were put to public consultation in August this year. The committee met this week to consider public comment. Minor changes were made, but the intent of all the recommendations in the proposal was accepted.

One of the issues was that there was little consistency between brands in regard to markings and servicing. From a consumer’s perspective this makes it confusing. Some brands did not even advise if the life jacket was operated manually or automatically – clearly not good enough. The proposal recommended other markings across all brands be consistent at point of manufacture. These were:

  • “For maximum performance, fit firmly and use crotch strap” 
  • “Pull to Inflate”
  • ‘Perform a pre-wear check before use”

The above would be printed on the outside of the life jacket, at the front, across all brands. Servicing intervals by accredited providers also differed considerably between manufacturers. The recommendation was for a self-check annually and an accredited service provider check every third year. Again, consistency was important for the consumer.

We all know that crotch straps improve the performance of a life jacket considerably. Through the changes it will now be compulsory on life jackets, level 150 and above, that they are fitted with crotch straps at the time of manufacture, the same as a child’s life jacket. Another important change is that life jackets from level 150 and above will be tested in-water with the test subject wearing clothing as opposed to swimming bathers. Another major issue has been seeing CO bottles becoming loose. The change to the Standard now incorporates a section that says the gas cylinder shall be designed so that it can only be detached by at least two consecutive and manual actions.  

These changes will give a definitive safety outcome to users of Australian Standard life jackets in years to come.

I am sorry I was unable to attend your recent virtual conference - I hope it was a huge success. My best wishes to all at the CSBC. My wife and I have missed your great country. With summer approaching, I am looking forward to rock lobster fishing and cruising the east coast of Tassie!
In brief

Celebrate the 25th anniversary of the International Boating and Water Safety Summit from March 13-16, 2022 at the Hyatt Regency Dulles just outside of Washington, D.C. Registration is now open.

The New Zealand Search and Rescue Council Annual Report 2020-2021 is now available. We’re always inspired by our Kiwi colleagues!