October 2023

Canadian Safe Boating Council Symposium 2023: Working together: today’s challenges and tomorrow’s solutions/ Travailler ensemble – Les défis d’aujourd’hui et les solutions de demain

The CSBC Symposium “came from away” to St. John’s this year, and it was a fitting event for the 25th anniversary of the Symposium, which ran from September 26 - 28. Boating safety is all about working in partnership and exploring new tools to improve safety on the water. Delegates learned how community is the underpinning of life in Newfoundland and Labrador, and how agencies work together locally, nationally and internationally. St. John’s is known as a centre of research, innovation and technology in the marine sector, and local private and public sector speakers joined national and international presenters in sharing exciting developments that will help us tackle the boating safety challenges of today and tomorrow. Off-site visits to Virtual Marine and the Canadian Coast Guard Operations Centre and Marine Rescue Coordination Sub-centre showed innovative technology and collaboration in action.

Networking and learning from each other have always been a feature of the CSBC Symposium, and this year’s Coffee and Challenges session continued this tradition. New this year was a special Lifejacket Forum, in which we devoted half a day to exploring “all things lifejacket”. Regulations re lifejacket wear are a hot topic these days, and the forum did include a session on this, but there’s a lot more to consider: what does the data show? Where are the risks? Why do boaters wear lifejackets – or not? How can we craft effective wear your lifejacket messages? And what about lifejackets themselves – how are manufacturers innovating? How to fit and maintain them?

Following is an outline of the program. The presentations will be posted on the CSBC website at https://csbc.ca/en/events/annual-symposium/2023-symposium-presentations

Working Together: a Transport Canada Perspective

Lucie Bergeron, Director, Office of Boating Safety, Transport Canada

Saving Lives on the Water: Partnership is Key


Phil Walker, Superintendent, SAR, Canadian Coast Guard Atlantic Region


James Chidley, Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, Newfoundland and Labrador


Maritime SAR in the U.K.


Richard Wasson, HM Coastguard Community Safety Lead, U.K. 


Working Together to Promote Boating Safety in Atlantic Canada


Sean Fitzpatrick and Sharon Sellars, Office of Boating Safety, Newfoundland and Labrador, Transport Canada

Conor McIsaac, Canadian Coast Guard

Newman Skinner, Royal Newfoundland Constabulary


Sea Kayaking Safety


David Hickey, President, Paddle Newfoundland and Labrador

Innovation and Technology: Simulation in Marine Safety Training


Tony Patterson, Managing Director, Training, Virtual Marine


Boating Trends and Future Challenges in the United States


Jeff Decker, A/Chief, Programs and Ops. Management Branch, US Coast Guard


Building Partnerships in Communities

James Huberts, A/Insp. RCMP National Marine Program


Coffee and Challenges


Group discussion


Innovation and Technology : Best Chance of Survival : Role of PFDs and PLBs


Kerri Ann Ennis, Marine Institute


Innovation and Technology : CSBC Research : The Shock Factor


Cheryl Gallagher, Playsafe Productions


Lifejacket Forum


Session 1 : What Does the Data Tell Us? What Are the Risks?


Fatality Data and CSBC Wear Rate Study


Barbara Byers, Lifesaving Society and CSBC Education Director


Transport Canada Wear Rate Study


Geoffrey Tasker, Marine Safety Policy Advisor, TC


Session 2 : Options for Mandatory Lifejacket Wear Regulations


Proposals and Process


Honey Walsh, Manager OBS and Geoffrey Tasker, Marine Safety Policy Advisor, TC


Session 3 : Prevention : Lifejacket Wear Behaviours and Effective Messaging


Ipsos Reid Research : Why People Do/don’t Wear Lifejackets


Barbara Byers, Lifesaving Society and CSBC Education Director


Effective Messaging


Cheryl Gallagher, Playsafe Productions


Session 4 : Lifejackets Products Panel


Canada/US Standards Harmonization


Nicolette Weeks, Underwriters Laborator


Breaking News! PFD Update


Lili Colby, Mustang Survival and Steve Wagner and Lauren McFarlane, Salus Marine


How to Fit and Maintain Your Lifejacket


Lili Colby

Many thanks to the Symposium Committee, led by Chair Lawrence Jacobs, Co-Chair Rick Cassels, together with Sean Arbour, Christa-Lee Cole, Sean Fitzpatrick, Cheryl Gallagher, Joe Gatfield, Ian Gilson, John Gullick, Ron Kroeker, Jason Krott, John McMullen, Jean Murray, Sharon Sellars and Phil Walker. Special thanks to Jason Krott for running the audiovisual side of the Symposium, and to Ron Kroeker, photographer extraordinaire.

Thank you as well to the Canadian Coast Guard and Virtual Marine for hosting the much-appreciated off-site visits.

And a big thank you and our deep appreciation to the following sponsors, without whom this event would not have been possible:

Gold Sponsors

Bombardier Recreational Products

Cook-Rees Memorial Fund

NMMA Canada

Port Metro Vancouver

Yamaha Canada

Silver Sponsors

Mustang Survival


Salus Marine Wear


Virtual Marine

Bronze Sponsors

Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro.

Highlights of what Symposium delegates said about this year’s event:


“Welcoming. Informative. Collaborative. Inspiring.”

“Great symposium -- presenters, collaborative exercises, hotel, location. It really felt as though we accomplished things.”

“The Coffee and Challenges session went way beyond my expectations. I left feeling there was great value in what the two days presented and left me with.”

“The topics covered are very relevant, which addresses the pressing challenges in promoting safety in (the) boating industry.”

“(Great) networking with drowning prevention colleagues from across Canada and the world.”

100% indicated that the Symposium met or exceeded their expectations, and all said they would attend another.  

After a rollicking good time on Canada’s East Coast, the CSBC is heading west for next year’s Symposium! Bookmark your calendar for October 1 - 3, 2024, when we will be at the Delta Hotel and Conference Centre, Whistler, B.C. 

CSBC Volunteer Recognition Awards 2023

The Canadian Safe Boating Council relies on the hard work and commitment of our volunteers, directors and other partners to support the mission of our organization and to deliver our safety programs and events. As in years past, we received many nominations for our volunteer awards, with many of our recipients receiving multiple nominations. The annual Volunteer Recognition Award winners were presented by CSBC Chair Mike Dean and Volunteer Recognition Chair Peter Heard at the CSBC Symposium on September 28 in St John’s, Newfoundland. Congratulations and many thanks to this year’s award winners for their tremendous contribution to the Canadian Safe Boating Council!  

Ian Campbell

Milestone AwardIn grateful recognition of your many years of distinguished volunteer service as a CSBC Director

Sean Arbour

Certificate of MeritIn recognition of your significant contribution to the CSBC as a valued partner and enthusiastic supporter

Joe Gatfield

Certificate of MeritIn recognition of your outstanding professionalism, integrity and extraordinary efforts in managing CSBC finances over the past year

John Gullick

Certificate of Merit In recognition of your steadfast leadership for committing to the role of CSBC Chair during 2022-2023

David Hill

Certificate of MeritIn recognition of your years of dedicated service and significant contribution to the Canadian Safe Boating Council’s projects and initiatives 

Brenda Reeve

Certificate of Merit In recognition of your continued leadership and strategic development of the Canadian Safe Boating Awards

Rick Cassels

Distinguished Service CitationIn recognition of your sustained and enthusiastic commitment to supporting and promoting the CSBC in all of its endeavours, including unparalleled leadership in securing sponsorships and your 24 years of service on the CSBC Board

Virtual Cold Water Workshops This Fall: Don’t Miss Out!






8:00 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. Eastern

If you’re a first responder, work or just spend time recreating on or near cold water, this workshop is for you. You will learn everything you need to know to survive an accidental cold water immersion and also how to help others who may have become hypothermic. It is hosted by the Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC), delivered over “Zoom” and will cover...

✔ Understanding the Myths Around Cold Water Immersion and Hypothermia

✔ How Our Bodies React to Heat and Cold Stimuli

✔ 4 Ways Our Bodies Lose Heat

✔ What Happens to Our Bodies When Immersed in Cold Water

✔ Immersion vs. Submersion in Cold Water

✔ Cold Water Survival and Thermal Protective Clothing

✔ Basic First Response…When You’re The Only One Who Can Help!

✔ The Decision to Stay or Swim When You’re on Your Own

The cost of this online Cold Water Workshop is only $100 and participants will receive a

certificate of completion. Registration can be completed by going to the Canadian Safe

Boating Council website www.csbc.ca and selecting Cold Water Workshop under “Events”

or click here. Please note that the course instruction will be in English.

For more information, contact Ian Gilson at [email protected].

Canadian Safe Boating Awards (CASBAs)

This coming January will be the 25th anniversary of the Canadian Safe Boating Awards. We have come a long way since that first evening, initiated by Ted Rankine, who enlisted family and friends in an “all hands on deck” approach to organizing and catering a great event to celebrate significant contributions to the advancement of boating safety. Over the years we have added award categories, involved more sponsors and partners, tried different venues and formats and attracted more attendees. What has remained unchanged is the CSBC’s commitment to honour Canada’s boating heroes, and to bring our community together to celebrate their achievements and to be inspired by their example.


Here's how you can be involved:

  • nominate an individual, a team or an organization. Don’t delay - nominations close on October 31, 2023. Nomination Form (csbc.ca)
  • we’d love to welcome you to our special 25th anniversary CASBAs event! It will be held at the popular National Yacht Club venue at 1 Stadium Road, Toronto on Sunday January 21, 2024. CASBA Registration (csbc.ca)


Help us celebrate outstanding contributions to boating safety and protection of the marine environment! 

New Chair, U.S. National Safe Boating Council

Alan Dennison was elected Chair of the U.S. National Safe Boating Council at the General Membership meeting on September 19. The CSBC and the NSBC work closely together under a Memorandum of Understanding, and the Chair of each organization serves as a non-voting member of each other’s Boards. A warm welcome to Alan, and many thanks to Past Chair Robert Newsome for his support of and collaboration with the CSBC. 

Great Canadian Marine Careers Expo 2023

The Great Canadian Marine Careers Expo 2023 (GCMCE) is an opportunity for high school students and job seekers to connect with marine careers employers. These employers include Government of Canada organizations and private sector marine industry organizations at locations in Quebec and Ontario during October and November. This event is free to attend. GCMCE 2023 is scheduled to take place from September 28 to November 19, 2023.

At the Great Canadian Marine Careers Expo, Canadians will be able to speak directly to personnel who have chosen the challenge of a career at sea and also learn about the wide range of ship and shore-based careers currently available in the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Coast Guard, other Government of Canada departments, and other marine organizations including the Canadian Marine Careers Foundation. Learn more on the locations, hours and activities on the Great Canadian Marine Careers Expo website. 

In Brief

Did you know that you can direct your United Way Campaign donation to any registered Canadian charity? Please consider donating to the Canadian Safe Boating Council; our registration number is 875659864RR0001.

NEW: connect with the CSBC on LinkedIn! 

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