- Coastal Protection
- Planning Issues
Last year in Ontario was a below average year for wildfires, but fire related deaths were the highest they’ve been in 20 years and the stats have been trending upward. Your ability to get out of your home or cottage during a fire depends on advance warning from smoke alarms and advance planning. Fire can spread very quickly leaving as little as one or two minutes to escape safely once the alarm sounds. Make sure your home or cottage is equipped with fire extinguishers, working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and that you have an escape plan in the event of emergency. Have a plan In the event of a fire, the priority is to get everyone out of danger as quickly as possible and having a well practiced plan is the best way to do this. It doesn’t take long to prepare a plan and
On August 8, 2023, the Southern Georgian Bay OPP Detachment pulled a 61 year old sailor to safety after calls for help were heard in Midland Bay. A community member called 911 after hearing the cries for help. The OPP attended the scene by land and quickly commandeered a small local boat to reach the person in distress. On the scene police located a male in the water at the stern area of a sailboat with a small Zodiac vessel attached to it approximately two hundred meters off the shoreline. The sailor was found conscious, but very fatigued in the water without a lifejacket clinging to the exterior of the Zodiac. The man had been in the water for over an hour which had reduced his ability to physically move. Officers were able to fit the man with a lifejacket from the Zodiac which
If your existing flares have a manufacture date of 2019 or earlier they have or will expire this year. According to Transport Canada requirements, flares are approved for four years from the date of manufacture. This means that you must replace traditional flares every third or fourth boating season. It's not easy to get rid of expired flares in a safe and environmentally responsible way. Canadian Power Sail Squadrons only has one Safety Equipment Education and Flare Disposal Day in the Georgian Bay area this year (September 30 at Sudbury Hearth and Home) to bring your outdated marine flares to be properly disposed of, free of charge. Transport Canada recently approved the use of accredited electronic visual distress signal devices (eVDSD) in lieu of traditional pyrotechnic distress sig
Transport Canada's proposed regulations amending the Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations (VORR) (submission 2021) were pre-published in the Canada Gazette, Part I and are now available for public comment on the Canada Gazette website. The 60-day comment period will end on August 16, 2023. There are a number of items that are addressed in this submission including engine power limits, updating exemptions, technical requirements for signage, wake surfing restriction, designation authority and administrative corrections. The two topics more likely to impact our membership are engine power limits and wake surfing. Engine Power Limits At present because of the limited scope of subsection 2(4), if local authorities want to specify an engine power limit on a local body
Transport Canada invites you to have your say on the proposed changes to Small Vessel Regulations regarding Pleasure Craft Licenses (PCL). A PCL is a document issued by Transport Canada which contains a unique number used to trace a vessel to its owner. This number (displayed on the front of your boat) allows police and search and rescue personnel to access important information in an emergency and also supports accountability and compliance with safety and environmental regulations. This affects us all as the PCL is required for all vessels with 10 or more horsepower. The proposed changes have been published in Canada Gazette 1 and include: the establishment of a 5 year validity period (currently 10 year) licence holders will be required to notify transport Canada of any chang
Transport Canada is currently seeking comments on their Let’s Talk Transportation portal regarding the introduction of new requirements for installing and using engine cut-off switches. An engine cut-off switch is a device on a vessel that stops the propulsion system when the operator is unexpectedly ejected from the vessel. These switches are usually connected to the operator via a mechanical lanyard, like a coiled cord clipped onto the operator or via a wireless connection. Current Requirements Currently, Canada only requires engine cut-off switches be installed on personal watercraft, but the switches have been required on vessels under 8 metres in the United States since 2019. Proposed Changes To increase boater safety and align Canadian requirements with the U.S.,
According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada between 25 and 30 Canadians die in ice-related incidents each year and many more must be rescued. Mild temperatures this winter have made ice conditions very unpredictable and no ice is safe ice especially when temperatures have not been cold enough for long enough to form thick ice. It can take many consecutive days of sub-zero temperatures to form ice that is thick enough to venture out on. Even if the ice is thick enough to venture out on, there are still considerable risks. - https://youtu.be/T7HHOMsB4YY No Ice is Safe Ice! - Don't overestimate the strength or quality of ice! Always, always use extreme caution if you are venturing out on a frozen lake. Before you go, there are three key steps to perform to assess the safety of the ice: -
The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and its Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) partners are cautioning snowmobilers about the increased risks posed by a milder winter and reminding them of the common sense approach needed to avoid a tragic outcome to their riding season. The late onset of cold temperatures and lack of snow in many parts of Ontario have set a particularly dangerous stage for snowmobilers, especially those who are considering riding on frozen waterways. Close to 40 per cent of OPP-investigated snowmobile fatalities have occurred on frozen lakes and rivers over the past 10 years. Snowmobilers are therefore urged to avoid all frozen waterways at all times! The majority of OFSC trails are currently unavailable and snowmobilers need to stay off all OFSC trails e
With weather conditions becoming more unpredictable and storms becoming increasingly severe, being prepared on a winter drive can make a life-or-death difference. Preparing a winter survival kit for your vehicle can save you if you are stuck on the side of the road in poor conditions. Aside from keeping you fuel tank filled and making sure you have an ice-scraper and washer fluid that works down to -40ºC, a winter survival kit for your vehicle should include: a charged cell phone water and non-perishable food flashlight blanket and warm clothes a first aid kit with seat belt cutter jumper cables shovel traction mats or sand candles and a lighter or matches tow rope antifreeze warning light or flares whistle fire extinguisher The government
We all want to protect our properties as best we can over the long winter, but if you use or are considering installing a bubbler to prevent ice damage, there are some import issues to consider. Bubblers are a type of de-icing system that prevent ice from forming around waterfront structures by creating zones of agitated and warmer water. Without careful planning, management and consideration of the nature of your waterfront area, your bubbler can de-ice a significantly larger portion of the water than is necessary to protect your property creating large areas of open water. Legal Implications There is no law against using a bubbler, but Section 263 (1) of the Criminal Code of Canada (Duty to safeguard opening in ice) is very clear that those who make or cause to be made
Excessive boat motor noise, caused by boats with no mufflers or ineffective mufflers, is a pervasive problem on many waterways in Canada. Unlike the USA and Europe, Canada does not currently have legislation to restrict excessive boat noise. The simplest solution is to put limits on the amount of noise that boat motors can make. GBA has been working with the Decibel Coalition to encourage the adoption of new legislation on decibel limits that are effective and enforceable. Earlier this spring we asked you to tell Transport Canada your thoughts on the best way to curb boat noise. Now it's time to take this issue to our MPs. You can write to your federal MPs both at the cottage and at your fulltime residence asking them to support these regulatory changes. The Decibel Coalition ha
Nine people using inflatables, paddleboards, and a foam mat had to be rescued by OPP in Georgian Bay last week in four separate incidents. All of these incidents occurred when the water toys and paddleboards were blown too far away from shore and only one person was wearing a lifejacket. Police would like to remind the public of the hazards involved with using inflatable toys, paddleboards and other water based equipment. Here are a few important tips: Always wear a lifejacket. Know your limitations. Set a good example for your children. Check the weather and wind conditions. Conditions may appear smooth near the shoreline, but deteriorate the further you go out. Don't mix alcohol or drugs with water activities. Avoid distractions. Stay off your cellphone. Inflatable to
Boating from October through June offers a very different experience steeped in solitude and excellent fishing. It is a beautiful time to be on the water. But boating during this season also requires extra attention to detail and the ability to be self-sufficient given that there are fewer boaters around should you require assistance. Here are some helpful tips from the Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) and the Ontario Federation of Anglers & Hunters to make off-season boating safer for you. Check the weather forecast. The weather can change quickly and storms can be more violent. Fog is also more common. Ensure that your boat and engine are in good working order. Ethanol-based fuel can allow water contamination in the tank. The use of a fuel additive prevents water in the f
Here are some things to think about around Fire Safety at the cottage: Make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are present and working. Have a list of local emergency numbers posted for all to see. Include all pertinent cottage location information. Have the right fire extinguishers in the right places. Have an individual fire plan for evacuation. Make sure your plan has two escape routes. Respect local fire ratings. Have a fire pump and use it regularly to ensure it is in good working order. At the very least have a list of neighbours to call for assistance. Follow your association’s emergency plan if it exists. Make sure you have insurance. Make sure you understand what it covers and that it is adequate to rebuild and covers contents AND fire de
Large wakes continue to be a bone of contention. They cause damage to docks and shorelines and can be very disruptive to cottagers enjoyment of their docks. What can be done? The occasional disruption and damage caused by excessive wakes are an ongoing source of irritation between boaters and cottagers. Boaters are responsible for their wakes and any damage caused by them. But the OPP tells us that damage caused by wakes is a civil issue. And so what you need to do is be able to identify the vessel and the operator and pursue the matter in small claims court if a reasonable result can’t be agreed upon between the parties on their own. However, if a boater is observed to be operating their vessel in a dangerous or careless way then the OPP should be called. They ideally would like t
This past summer there seemed to be a search & rescue operation happening and it left many cottagers confused about what was going on. The questions were about what to do in a situation like that - where to get information, and potentially how to help. When involved in a current investigation the OPP generally will not disseminate info through the media. They most often feel they have the resources to adequately conduct a search. Note that, if the OPP does ask the public for assistance, they are civilly liable if a member of the public gets injured while searching, and so tend not to involve the public. If the OPP is not successful then they will ask the public for assistance through media channels. If people have questions they can call the OPP non emergency ( 1 800-310-1122 ) num
Do you know what your boat insurance covers? I just found out that mine doesn’t cover environmental damage/clean up charges. If there is damage done to the environment from your boat in any way ( spills or collisions or whatever ), the government, whether they clean it up or bring in a private contractor, will bill the owner of each boat involved. Under the Marine Liability Act the responsibility for costs associated with spill clean up resides strictly with vessel owners. And that can be expensive. My wake up call about environmental coverage serves as a reminder that it is a good thing to review the coverage you have on your boat. The following are some of the points you might want to consider. But remember these are general points only. You must discuss and confirm you have the
Here is an outline of boating (vessel) offence excerpts from the Criminal Code, Canada Shipping Act and Ontario Liquor License Act. They were sourced using the online applications, BOATsmart and Shield Basic Ontario and the web site of Ontario Ministry of Transportation. Read here.
What to do about missing or out of place channel markers, faded reflectors, etc. If you notice a missing or out of place channel marker, damaged red triangle or black square or faded reflectors on any of these you should report this information to the Canadian Coast Guard in Parry Sound. You should include as much information as possible including buoy numbers, name of channel or specific location and details of the problem you are reporting. Written notes can be sent to; Canadian Coast Guard Supervisor Operations, Aids to Navigation, 28 Waubeek street, Parry Sound, ON, P2A 1B9 or phoned into 705-773-4322
The Insurance Bureau of Canada and the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations have compiled the following list of 10 Safety Tips to remind people to make safety a priority getting to and while at the cottage. Here are the top 10 safety tips as you prepare to head up to the cottage, and after you get there. Check your car’s lights, signals, tire pressure and fluids before the trip to the cottage. Check your first-aid kit and replace any missing supplies. Check and maintain cottage smoke detectors and CO detectors. Check the condition of boat(s), including fuel lines and tanks. Check that all required safety equipment is on board and in good repair. Remove dry leaves and debris from the cottage roof and/or eavestroughs to reduce fire risk. Prepare for extreme
Responsibilities of Cottage Owners who rent or lend cottage boats.
First, check with your insurance company – are there any issues?
If a cottage owner still chooses to make a boat available to a person renting a cottage they should be aware...
Here is a link to a great short video our friends at Safe Quiet Lakes produced on Boat Noise.
By Cottage Life A joy of cottage life often involves walking down to the dock and taking the boat out to indulge in a variety of activities like fishing, parasailing, or water skiing. For the less active among us, there’s always the joy of taking a pleasure cruise out as far as possible before sinking the anchor and simply taking in the sunshine. When you’ve got a boat, there are multiple ways to take advantage of our great summer weather on our rivers and lakes. Our summers may be short, but it’s important to take the time to ensure your boating experiences are both fun and safe, so you and your family can enjoy time together on the water for many summers to come. Here are 5 tips you should follow when you’re out on the water at the cottage this summer and every summer: