August 2023


In this issue

  • Message from the Chair
  • Introduction to new Chair and Board
  • CSBC 25th Annual Symposium St. John’s
  • Registration Open: In-Person and Virtual Cold Water Workshops
  • Nominations for 25th Annual CASBAs Are Now Open!
  • Boating Safety in Tasmania: Update
  • A Trip Down Memory Lane
  • In Brief 

Message from the Chair

I am delighted to address you as the newly appointed Chair of the Canadian Safe Boating Council. I want to especially thank John Gullick, who served as Chair for a combined nine years, over four separate terms, and has contributed so much to our collective mission. John is an integral part of the CSBC and will continue to play a critical role, together with the other members of the Board of Directors and our many talented volunteers and members.

The CSBC’s dedication to promoting safe boating practices across Canada is crucial in helping to ensure the well-being of boaters and preserving our beautiful waterways and I am proud to continue to serve on the board.

As volunteers, we play a pivotal role in raising awareness and educating boaters about safe practices. This summer I had the joy of watching my own son grow to love boating, and instilling in him the importance of safety and wearing a lifejacket. All our efforts have a significant impact on the safety of individuals and families who enjoy boating as a recreational activity. By joining forces, and practicing what we preach, we can make a tangible difference and prevent accidents on the water.

With the recent spell of hot weather, it is essential to reinforce the importance of wearing lifejackets. As boaters head out to enjoy the summer season, it is crucial to prioritize safety. Even the most experienced swimmers can find themselves in unexpected situations, and a lifejacket provides crucial buoyancy and protection.

It is my hope that we can continue to recruit new members and continue to work with our current members to increase our ability to advocate for safe boating practices. Thank you for your continued support and dedication to the Canadian Safe Boating Council. Together, we can make a positive impact and help create a safer boating environment for all. Enjoy the rest of the 2023 boating season.

Mike Dean

Introduction to new Chair and Board

Mike Dean, CSBC Chair

Mike Dean has been an active member of the Canadian Safe Boating Council since 2015, supporting the mission to bring a collective voice to safety and awareness. He is a former safe boating instructor and avid boater with over 40 years of experience on all types of water. For over 15 years, Mike played a critical role in one of North America’s largest online outdoor education companies, in particular as it related to boat education certification. In this role, Mike was often called on by the media to talk about boating safety during national awareness campaigns. Mike has led on-site boating safety certification and testing, working closely with Transport Canada while making sure the millions of visitors a year to the website had a winning experience. In the mid-2000’s Mike became an AdventureSmart Trainer, a certified Ice Rescue Technician and participated in a Cold Water Immersion Instructor course.


From bass boats to jet skis, wakeboards to stand up paddleboards, Mike knows his way around watercraft, both personally and as an industry professional. Mike has had the privilege of experiencing boating all over Canada, from Frobisher Bay in Nunavut to fly-in lakes in northern Manitoba and salmon fishing in the Queen Charlotte Islands.

Mike is an outdoor enthusiast with a deep-rooted love for nature and a passion for promoting safety in recreational activities. Growing up, he spent most of his time immersed in the outdoors, enjoying the serenity of the wilderness. With a father who introduced him to the wonders of nature, Mike developed a strong connection to the environment from an early age.

Now, with a family of his own, Mike is thrilled to share his love for the outdoors and in particular Canada’s beautiful waterways with his own family. He believes that spending time in nature cultivates a strong connection with the environment and provides invaluable experiences that shape individuals' lives. He is driven by a deep desire to ensure the safety and well-being of fellow boaters and outdoor enthusiasts across Canada.

In his role as Chair of the Canadian Safe Boating Council, Mike is dedicated to promoting safe boating practices and advocating for a culture of preparedness and responsibility on the water. With his leadership and the support of the council's members and many volunteers, he aims to make a positive impact on boating safety nationwide.

Mike is grateful for the opportunity to work alongside the council's dedicated members in their shared mission to create a safer and more enjoyable boating environment for all Canadians.

Lili Colby, New Board Member

Lili Colby was elected to the CSBC Board at the AGM in May 2023, and is the CSBC’s first full voting Board member from the United States. Lili works for Mustang Survival as the Product to Market Coordinator and Industry & Non-profits Relations Specialist. She is the former co-owner of MTI Life Jackets, a US brand focused on USCG-approved PFDs for paddlesports. She and her husband, Gordon Colby, sold MTI to Mustang Survival in 2020, and so Lili continues her role as a “PFDiva” promoting safe boating and lifejacket wear. A former board member of the American Canoe Association, Lili currently serves on the NASBLA Paddlesports Committee and is a founding member and the interim Chair of the Paddlesports Trade Coalition, a new North American trade association for paddlesport manufacturers, retailers, and outfitters. Lili resides in Plymouth, MA where she and her husband both work remotely for Mustang Survival. They have two millennial daughters and one grown Gen Z son to keep them updated with technology, and enjoy sailing their 17’ dinghy on Cape Cod Bay and on Lake Sunapee, NH, plus any opportunity to paddle one of their five canoes, four standup paddleboards, two kayaks, and a packraft.

CSBC 25th Annual Symposium, St. John’s, Newfoundland

We have an exciting program lined up for you at the CSBC Symposium in St. John’s from September 26 - 28! Don’t delay, register for the Symposium and book your hotel room today! .

Registration Information - Register online.

Hotel Information – Click Here or call 1-888-627-8672 to book your room directly. Mention CSBC 2023 Annual Symposium to get the special group rate. Book by August 25 to get the special rate.

The theme of this 25th Annual Symposium is Working Together – Today’s Challenges and Tomorrow’s Solutions, and program highlights include:

  • International presenters from HM Coastguard in the U.K. and the United States
  • Presentations and discussions on how organizations in Atlantic Canada work together to save lives through boating safety education and promotion and coordinated SAR response
  • Innovation and technology: how simulation technology is revolutionizing marine safety training, and the latest research findings from Dr. Gordon Giesbrecht on the effects of sudden immersion (The Shock Factor)
  • An interactive session on current/future boating safety challenges and solutions: share your perspectives and ideas!
  • A special Lifejacket Forum, including sessions on:
  • What does the data tell us? What are the risks?
  • Options for mandatory lifejacket wear regulations
  • Prevention: lifejacket wear behaviours and effective messaging
  • Lifejacket products panel
  • Offsite visits to simulators at Virtual Marine and to the Canadian Coast Guard Operations and Marine Rescue Centres.

And there’s more! Always on offer at CSBC Symposiums is networking, exchanging ideas and learning from each other in a collaborative and fun environment. Learn more at 2023 Symposium Details (

Registration Open: In-Person and Virtual Cold Water Workshops

It has been a sweltering summer in most parts of Canada this year. How about planning to cool off at one of the CSBC’s cold water workshops this fall? We’re offering both an in-person workshop, in St. John’s, Newfoundland in September, and virtual workshops in October and November. See details and register today at the following link.

Cold Water Workshops (

Nominations for the 25th Annual CASBAs Are Now Open!

We need YOU to share the stories of those who should be recognized for their contributions to boating safety in Canada. We are now accepting nominations in the following categories for the 2023 Canadian Safe Boating Awards:

  • Rescue of the Year
  • Top Volunteer Dedicated to Boating Safety
  • Safeguarding the Environment
  • Marine Professional of the Year
  • Visible PFD / Lifejacket Wear in Advertising
  • Marine Industry Award
  • Best Boating Safety Initiative
  • Best Media Contribution to Boating Safety
  • Special Recognition Award

If you have someone you would like to nominate, please visit our website for nomination forms. Deadline for submissions is October 31, 2023. Nomination Form (

The next CASBAs awards ceremony will be held on 21 January 2024 at the National Yacht Club in Toronto, starting at 6:30 p.m. It will be the 25th anniversary of the CASBAs! Do join us in celebrating excellence in boating safety and environmental stewardship. 

Boating Safety in Tasmania: Update

With thanks to Peter Hopkins, CSBC Special Correspondent. Peter is Manager of Marine and Safety Tasmania, Australia

Boating in Tasmania has slowed considerably over our winter period. Whilst a few people still hit the water to go tuna fishing or scallop diving or participate in the odd winder race run by one of the yacht clubs, most people are enjoying the opportunity to do some maintenance on their boats.

I recently gave a presentation at the International Boating and Water Safety Summit (IBWSS) in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA. It was a great conference, and it was nice to meet up and chat again with Michelle Maruk from Transport Canada. I met her when I was last in Canada for the CSBC Symposium in Victoria BC. At IBWSS there were some wonderful speakers on a host of topics including the Waves of Hope Foundation, it was an emotional presentation, but the program offers so much for those who have lost a loved one in a boating accident. If you can contact Peg Phillips from the National Safe Boating Council, I am sure she would be able to provide a link to the presentation.

Since I last wrote there have been two fatalities in Tasmanian waters. Both the deceased were males and over 50 years of age. One died after falling from a yacht anchored in a sloppy seaway and the other died in a kayaking incident when fishing from the craft during a gale warning. Any fatality is one too many, but again we see people making unwise decisions.

MAST has become the first jurisdiction south of the U.S. to introduce Electronic Visual Distress Signals (EVDS) into legislation. Since July 1 this year it has become possible for the boating public to choose between an EVDS and 2 orange and red hand flares. If the boat owner elects to carry an EVDS then they must also have on board a VHF coastal radio and a registered GPS EPIRB. The radio and EPIRB will substitute for daytime rescue situations. We see this as a great step forward and a way of stopping pyrotechnic flares ending up in landfill or our paying thousands of dollars to dispose of them.

MAST has also pushed to have an Australian Standard developed for EVDS. Work on this has started and our drafting committee has already met several times. As you would be aware, there is only one standard in the world, this being the RTCM 13200.00 from the US. We have permission to reference this, so it is unlikely an Australian Standard would be too much different from the RTCM standard when completed. Technology is improving continually; these products will only get better and better in the future. Maybe pyrotechnic flares will soon be a signaling device of the past. In Australia the National Safety Regulator (AMSA) does not keep records of how many rescues are activated by flares – it is thought to be few.

Another national project almost completed which MAST has had much input to is the review of core competencies for operating a recreational power boat. All states use these competencies to structure their boat licence courses.

These were first introduced in 2002, so it was time for a review. We didn’t see a need to change too much once we got into the project. You still need to do the basics when going boating - check the weather, tell someone where you are going and for how long, ensure the boat has enough fuel, I could go on! Principally the changes revolve around technology changes. Those include EVDS, chart plotters, mobile apps to obtain forecasts and the like.

From the deep south in Tasmania, I hope all my Canadian friends at the CSBC have had a relaxing and safe spring and summer of boating. Lisa and I, taking some long service leave, are heading to the Northern Hemisphere in August to Europe and travelling in Italy, Greece, France, and the UK.

Hi to all and enjoy the remainder of the boating season.

Peter Hopkins

A Trip Down Memory Lane

The CSBC’s first Annual Symposium was held in Hamilton, Ontario in 1999, and we have been going from strength to strength every year since. The Symposium has evolved into one of our flagship events, bringing together a wide range of stakeholders to impart information on boating safety best practices, present and debate emerging safety issues and share information and outreach from our members, partners and agencies from around the world. We have welcomed hundreds of attendees over the years, and the Symposium has been held in every region of Canada, as well as virtually, as we learn about boating safety issues across Canada and create community.

When CSBC people get together, we often reminisce about the great times we had at past Symposiums:

  • do you remember when we recruited new CSBC volunteers as we sat around the campfire in Honey Harbour?
  • it’s incredible that the side discussions we started with the Australian and New Zealand reps in Gravenhurst led to Canada being a founding signatory of the International Lifejacket Wear Principles Agreement (the Muskoka Agreement) in Sydney the following year
  • some delegates were so excited when they got to try paddlesports for the first time in Halifax!
  • our whole focus on boating safety in the North was kickstarted when we took the Symposium to Yellowknife…….
  • what about when some of us wore pirate costumes, complete with a parrot on the shoulder, to the banquet at the Oak Island Resort? We didn’t find any treasure, but we did have a great time!

Of course, our memories are not always the same, and there have often been differences of opinion about such things as how many times we have been to Whistler, and the last time we held the Symposium in Newfoundland. Digging into the CSBC archives, we have now compiled the definitive list of our Symposium locations over the last 24 years, and posted it here.

Maybe it will trigger some of your own happy memories!


And why not make some new memories with us in St. John’s this September? We’ll be celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the CSBC Symposium! Go to 2023 Symposium Details ( for registration and hotel information. 

In Brief

Haven't renewed your CSBC membership yet? It would be great to have you on board! Go to Membership (


The Fall 2023 National CMAC meeting will take place in person only from Tuesday November 14 – Wednesday November 15, 2023. Registration will open in the coming months and details will be added to the Transport Canada CMAC Webpage.

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