This was the 19th year of the CASBA's and 10 awards were presented for a wide variety of achievements.
STEARNS Rescue of the Year: Dan Peters
The northern waters of Lake Superior were still frigid in June 2016 when Richard Luskleet and his 12 year-old son Alex headed out in their canoe. While they were prepared for a short time on the water, a turn in the weather upset their craft and they would drift submerged for over 5 hours. Dan Peters, an off-duty Ontario Provincial Police member, did not hesitate but launched his small aluminum boat and started to search. The waves increased and against the advice of others he headed further out, ultimately finding the pair and returning them to shore and to the care of doctors. If not for Dan's determination, Richard and Alex would certainly not have survived.
Best Boating Safety Initiative: Canadian Red Cross
The Canadian Red Cross, Quebec Region, was recognized for their personal flotation device awareness campaign, "Projet VFI", which first kicked off in Saguenay-Lac-Saint Jean in 2011, with the assistance of Transport Canada. The focus was on those fishing or boating recreationally and teams challenged themselves to go where the audience was, expanding to Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Mauricie and Centre-du-Québec. Their efforts have resulted in making over 60,000 direct contacts promoting the wear of flotation devices.
Volunteer Dedicated to Boating Safety: Ben Sewell
Ben Sewell, a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Thompson, Manitoba, was recognized for his tireless work with families and youth teaching kayaking skills over a number of years. Whether in the pool or experiencing Manitoba's north country, Ben focuses on skills development, water safety and respect for the power of nature.
Marine Professional of the Year: William Scott
Constable Bill Scott of the Ontario Provincial Police has been engaged in marine response and education for almost 30 years. Early on in his career he was assigned to police diving operations. With his passion for marine policing ignited he has become a driving force in public education, enforcement, search and rescue operations and a highly skilled training officer for police and conservation officers.
Safeguarding the Environment: Sirius Signal and Weems & Plath
The innovation and creation of the SOS Distress Light sets a bright, safe and clean course forward for recreational boating. Approved as a replacement for pyrotechnic signal flares in the USA for recreational boaters, the SOS Distress Light is easily and safely handled, operates over an extended period of time, is re-usable and eliminates the environmental challenges of disposing of traditional flares. Sirius Signal (inventor) and Weems & Plath (manufacturer and distributor) are the joint recipients of this award. They were also recipients of the National Marine Manufacturers Association 2016 Innovation Award.
Visible PFD Wear in Advertising:
While PRINCECRAFT received this award for their efforts in 2016, they have been committed to showcasing personal flotation and lifejacket wear in their watercraft promotions for over 30 years. Boating safety is a key component of PRINCECRAFT's marketing efforts, whether in print or video formats, and they are not subtle about it.
Best Media Contribution to Boating Safety: Mark King
The body of work that Mark King has contributed to the promotion of safe boating practices is significant and spans over 18 years. Specifically, Mark writes a boating safety column called "Lifeline" which is published in Power Boating Canada magazine. Through "Lifeline", Mark covers a wide variety of practical boating safety information to help boaters better enjoy their time on the water.
Special Recognition: Doreen Hinksman
Doreen Hinksman has seen and done a lot in her 50 plus years as a volunteer with the Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons (CPS). Rising through the ranks, Doreen was the first female National Secretary, National Administration Officer, National Executive Officer and ultimately Chief Commander. She didn't just break the 'glass ceiling' she shattered it and set a course for women within the CPS and beyond.
Marine Industry Award:
Maplelea Girls are a wonderful collection of high-quality Canadian made dolls that reflect Canadian girls from coast to coast. One particular doll, Charlsea, lives on the West Coast and loves to kayak. Her accessories include a PFD, kayak with paddle and a journal which promotes boating safety and lifejacket wear. Charlsea normalizes wearing a lifejacket for young and impressionable girls and shows that thinking about boating safety is part of the fun of the boating experience.
Special Recognition: District of Tofino
Tragedy struck on October 25th, 2015 when the whale watching vessel, "Leviathan II" capsized, taking 6 lives and forever changing the lives of many others. What also occurred was heroic. The strength and compassion demonstrated by residents of the District of Tofino was truly inspiring. The entire community provided comfort; they opened their homes, their hearts and their wallets, to provide medical care, food, accommodation and emotional support to the survivors. They continue to support the survivors, rescuers and each other.
The safety and enjoyment of some 15 million Canadians on our waterways every year is due in large part to individuals and organizations like these. Recognizing them is important, and telling their stories will hopefully inspire others.