Boating in Canada Archive

2001 Canadian Boating News

Our sincere sympathy to everyone who lost a loved one on September 11.
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Sir Peter Blake shot by pirates

Dec 2001: World-renowned sailor and environmentalist Sir Peter Blake, 53, was shot by burglars on his yacht Seamaster at the mouth of the Amazon River in Brazil. Twice winner of the America's Cup for New Zealand, winner of the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989 and the Jules Verne Trophy in 1994 by sailing nonstop around the world in under 75 days, he had been appointed goodwill ambassador of the United Nations Environment Program this year. (

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British Columbia boatbuilding industry thriving

Oct 2001: Custom yacht builders have not been affected by the economic downturn according to a Silva Institute survey of the custom boatbuilding industry in British Columbia during the week of 27 September 2001.

West coast tourism and lumber have been hurt by the slowdown, but orders for custom yachts have continued. Projections for the next three years are unchanged and the industry is experiencing steady growth that will require more skilled workers to meet demand for custom yachts.

The survey claims a highly skilled workforce is the main reason that British Columbia's boatbuilders are enjoying a boom with waiting lists of up to two years for orders.

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USCG establishes regulations for boats
near Navy vessels in US waters

Sept 2001: The Coast Guard has established temporary regulations for safety and security of U.S. naval vessels in U.S. waters. Boats within 500 yards of a U.S. naval vessel must operate at minimum speed to maintain a safe course and proceed as directed by the official patrol. You are not allowed within 100 yards of a U.S. naval vessel. Contact official patrol on VHF-FM channel 16 for any requests. Boaters near a major harbour should contacct the local marine safety office for updates on local restirctions. The USCG site has a listing of all marine safety offices (MSO). [Government Links: U.S. ]

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B.C. Sailor attacked by pirates

August 2001: Bob Medd, a Sidney, B.C. sailor, survived a pirate attack off the coast of Mexico. He was robbed and had his throat slit and was left for dead. His sailboat ran onto shore, where Medd said he drifted in and out of consciousness. He said the thoughts of seeing his family again kept him going. Four fishermen noticed his wrecked boat and rushed him to hospital in Mexico. Medd had left last September for a 10-year, round-the-world cruise. Once he recovers, he vows to return to sea.

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Derek Hatfield plans to enter "Around Alone" race

Aug 2001: Racing sailor Derek Hatfield is finishing construction on a custom 40-foot sailboat to enter the solo circumnavigation race in September 2002. The four leg race takes 8 months to complete, and is held every 4 years. He will test the boat from the Port Credit Yacht Club, and display the yacht at ports around Lake Ontario this summer. Plans are to display 'Spirit of Canada' at the January Toronto International Boat Show. [Boat Shows] Hatfield is seeking sponsors to help him equip the boat, to train and compete in the race. Top of Page

Toxins ending up in lakes and rivers

Aug 2001: A federal-provincial study of 15 sewage plants in Quebec says that sewage treatment plants are flushing acutely toxic effluent into lakes and rivers - enough to kill minnows and insects - but the source is mostly chemicals flushed down the drain. Treatment plants kill germs and remove solids, but have no effect on toxic chemicals. Many samples contained ammonia, phosphorus, aluminum, arsenic, barium, mercury, PCBs, chlorinated dioxins and furans, surfactants (cleaning chemicals), polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and other compounds. As well, the popular weed-killers 2,4-D, mecoprop and atrazine were found. Sewage treatment plant effluent also caused growth of excess algae. [Report:]

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Bill S-26 to regulate PWCs

May 2001: In early May, Manitoba Senator Mira Spivak introduced legislation, Bill S-26, to help municipalities and cottage associations deal with safety, pollution and noise problems of personal watercraft. The bill would require the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to restrict PWCs on bodies of water wherever local authorities find they cause undue problems. (More...)

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RCMP to patrol national parks

May 2001: The Canadian Labour Code Direction ordered Parks Canada to either have park wardens carry guns to protect them or they should stop their law enforcement duties (including environmental regulations, fish and game laws, Canadian criminal code, and provincial liquor laws). Parks Canada prohibited park wardens from any activity that would require law enforcement, not even issuing a ticket or approaching the owner of an off-leash dog. They will only participate in resource management and public safety activities. 140 RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) will be deployed to provide all law enforcement in the 39 national parks of Canada. This includes the St. Lawrence National Park (1000 islands). (

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Great Lakes oil drilling

Apr 2001: The State of Michgan is reconsidering an old idea: drilling for oil and gas under the Great Lakes. Michigan, which borders all Great Lakes except L. Ontario, supports a proposal from an oil company to drill new wells beginning on the shore and slanting several kilometres under the lake beds. Offshore oil platforms in the lakes are banned by all U.S. states, but there are already 5 working oil and gas wells under Lake Michigan and 2 under Lake Huron, dating from the 1970s using this "slant" method of getting around the U.S. ban. Leaks from existing wells killed cattle and forced residents to leave their homes. A Michigan moratorium halted all new wells in 1997, but Michigan is considering lifting it. Debate is raging in the U.S.

There are natural gas wells in Lake Erie on the Ontario side of the border. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources has issued drilling permits in Lake Erie, but are not well knows as they use underwater pipelines.

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Carbon monoxide danger in houseboats

Mar 2001: A high number of death from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning has resulted from a design flaw in some houseboats. None people have died since 1994 and over a hundred needed emergency care since 1991 in Lake Powell, Utah. In certain models, the swim ladder design creates an air cavity underneath the stern deck. This space is about 1m (3') and kids are tempted to swim into the cavity while playing. Many boats vent the generator exhaust fumes into this space, allowing levels of carbon monoxide to reach deadly levels at the stern within a few minutes. (More about CO)

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GM fish being developed

Feb 2001: The Royal Society of Canada issued 53 recommendations for research and regulation of genetically modified (GM) crops and foods. Scientists and regulatory experts established at Health Canada's request called for a moratorium on GM fish. Fisheries and Oceans Minster has not responded. It is illegal to release European zebra mussels into the Canadian Great Lakes, but there are no regulations governing release of new types of fish.

GM fish may be a Pandora's Box that could change the fish populations forever. Research has shown the ease with which a tiny number of GM fish introduced into a wild population could decimate a natural stock a thousand times larger in 40 generations. No research has been done on danger of GM fish to human health. Canadian Aqua Bounty Farms is already developing GM salmon in Newfoundland and PEI. No country has approved GM fish, the first animal species being genetically modified for human food.

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Tall Ships Challenge™ Race Series
June 21-August 20, 2001 - Great Lakes

Jan 2001: The American Sail Training Association (ASTA) is organizing this series of sail training races interspersed with visits to selected ports in the Great Lakes region. Young people sign on as crew members on the participating tall ships (which range from sloops to large square riggers), and pit their nautical skills, courage and endurance against each other in friendly competition. Organized by American Sail Training Association (ASTA), Email

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OMC files bankruptcy

After laying off 1000 workers, and shutting down for a month, Outboard Marine Corporation, one of the best known builders of outboard motors, filed for bankruptcy in December 2000. The cause was supplier problems and the slowdown in the recreational marine market. (Recreational Boat Building Industry News)

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The Race begins

Dec 2000: The Race began on New Year's Eve: fastest of 6 catamarans racing around the world, passing south of all the Capes and returning to Barcelona, Spain. Early damage, speeds of over 30 knots, tactical duels. It was all happening in the first week of The Race. [Web site:]

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Canada to study Water levels

Jan. 2001: The Canadian Section of the International Joint Commission (IJC coordinates the use of waters along the Canada-United States boundary) has received funds today from the Government of Canada to review the regulation of water levels and flows in the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. Dec/2000: IJC established International Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River Study Board with 14 members, and the International Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River Public Interest Advisory Group with 24 members.

IJC will hold public meetings in Winnipeg, Manitoba (Jan 16), and Grand Forks, North Dakota (Jan 18), to obtain comment on the proposed directive for its International Red River Board. Submit comments by January 31, 2001.

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CPS issues certificates to operate VHF radios

Sept. 2000 – Industry Canada today announced that one organization has been delegated authority by the Minister of Industry to issue Restricted Operator Certificates (Maritime) to pleasure craft operators. In conjunction with this delegation, CPS will administer all aspects of the examination program to ensure that radio operators have successfully demonstrated a knowledge of marine radio communication procedures.

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