Boating in Canada Archive

2006 Canadian Boating News

June 2, 2006  Here's to Andrew Brash - a true hero. 200 metres from the sumit of Mount Everest, he saved Australian Lincoln Hall instead of completing his climb. (Others had passed by.) (

Never test the depth of the water with both feet.


Canadian Paddlers wins 2 Silvers at World Canoe And Kayak Championships

Aug/06: Tamas and Attila Buday, Hungarian-born brothers, of Mississauga, Ont. won silver in men's 1,000 metre C-2 race and Canada's men's C-4 team (Andrew Russell, Dartmouth, N.S.; Thomas Hall, Pointe-Claire, Que.; Kyle Jeffery, Mississauga; Dmitri Joukovski, Halifax) won silver medals in their 1,000-metre final at the 2006 World Canoe And Kayak Championships in Hungary.  (


Longest nonstop passage by trawler

Aug/06: A trawler captained by Ben Gray, a 67-year-old retired Alberta bison rancher, with sons Kevin (36) and Brad (40), is back home after completing a round-the-world cruise via the Northwest Passage. No other boat has circumnavigated via the Northwest Passage in less than a year, much less starting from Alberta, 2,100 n.mi. from the Arctic Ocean. Many told him it couldn't be done. Gray began the 15-month trip in May 25, 2005, starting from the Peace River in Alberta to the Arctic Ocean, requiring portaging the 15 tonne vessel twice around rapids. The 11-metre (57') Idlewild, named after a bison ranch, with 55 H.P. diesel engine would have impressed few weekend sailors, but it travelled 46,000 kilometres, mostly at 12 kph (6 kt). Normally carrying 3,800 liters of fuel, they carried 1,400 liters extra for the 29-day voyage from South Africa to Australia, but didn't use it. (6.4 kt, 5.27 lph, 1.21 mpl)  (


Passports required for U.S. travel in 2007

Aug/06: U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Chertoff has announced that (commercial) travel to the U.S.A. by air or sea will require new documentation by January 8, 2007. Documentation accepted will be: Canadian Passport, Merchant Mariner Document, or Nexus Air Card (see below). New documents requirements for land border crossings to begin January 2008 are still to be decided. Currently, Canadians can enter using a valid Drivers License or Birth Certificate.


New York canals reopen

Jul/06: Great Lakes cruising boaters were worried after severe flooding last month closed parts of the New York State Canal System, the usual route south for "snowbirds".
CLOSED: Erie Canal Locks 9 to 11 (Schenectady - Amsterdam) are expected to remain closed for up to six weeks to repair Lock 10.   OPEN: Oswego and Erie Canals Lock 23 to 24 (Brewerton - Baldwinsville); Cayuga-Seneca Canal Lock 1 to the Cayuga-Seneca junction; Erie Canal from the Cayuga-Seneca junction to Lock 25. The Erie Canal Locks 11 to 16 (Amsterdam - St. Johnsville) will reopen by the end of July. Erie Canal's Lock 24 is open to eastbound traffic only, and expected to reopen after water levels fall. The Champlain Canal also is expected to reopen July 31.   (  |


NEXUS Marine pilot project

May/06: The NEXUS Marine pilot project will operate May to October 2006 in the Lake St. Clair/Lake Erie area. It is expected the NEXUS program will replace the I-68 program for boaters frequently crossing the Canada/U.S. border.  (


Passport exemptions likely for boats entering U.S.

Jul/06: The so-called Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative was to require all Canadians and Americans entering the U.S. by air and sea to carry a passport or other secure identification card by January 2007, by 2008 for land crossings. The U.S. Senate passed legislation to delay the border plan to June 2009 (The U.S. House of Representatives has yet to vote). U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Chertoff says, "In particular, we will not be, for example, including in this set of regulations a requirement for passports for ferries or private watercraft, recognizing that this is a particular form of transportation that we don't want to interfere with."  (CBC.CA 2006/07/18)


Drugs contaminate St. Lawrence River

Jul/06: Environment Canada researchers have found many types of toxic drugs in water samples taken from the St. Lawrence River. The drugs include non-prescription and prescription drugs. Researchers even found caffeine.

"Drug pollution in waterways is widespread", said Francois Gagne, who authored along with two other researchers the study published earlier this year in the journal Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety.  (CBC.CA 2006/07/05)


Impaired Ontario boaters to lose car license

Jun/06: Ontario boaters caught operating a boat while impaired can lose their highway driver's licence. The Ontario legislature unanimously passed a private member's bill just before the legislative session ended for the summer, and it was immediately sworn into law. Police can now hand out 12-hour suspensions if an alcohol breath test reveals the boater is above the legal limit. The court also has the ability to take away a highway motor vehicle licence for a year if the boater is convicted of drunk boating.  (CBC.CA: New Ontario law takes drivers' licences from drunk boaters)


Arctic Ice Disappearing

May/06: Climatologists studying satellite photos are alarmed by rapidly melting Arctic ice and snow cover. Recent record temperatures were 4-5 degrees warmer than usual this winter, and ice cover has now dropped to a record low for the winter period (April normally has the maximum ice cover over the Arctic Ocean). Cape Dorset now has 2 cm. (1") of snow - normally 50 cm. (20"). Iqaluit has bare ground where there would normally be 20 cm. of snow. This is happening after dramatic losses in sea ice during the summer of 2005. Canadian scientists say the Ellesmere Island's northern ice cap, largest ice shelf in North America, is 90% gone. They predict the Arctic Ocean may rise 50 cm. in the next 50 years, which would mean huge changes for life in the north.  (CBC.CA backgrounder: Climate change)


Canadians advised to get passports for U.S. travel

Apr/06: Canadians planning to visit the United States should get passports, says Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety. "You are best served if you have a passport and we encourage Canadians to pursue that," he said.

Currently, Canadians crossing land borders can enter the U.S. with a driver's licence and proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate. A passport will be the only acceptable document when entering the U.S. by air or sea by January 2007, unless the U.S. modifies it's rules. In January 2008, you will need a passport when entering the U.S. by land. Only 37% of Canadians have passports, which currently cost $87. U.S. citizens will be able to get a new travel card for returning home, but Canadians will not have such an option. It is not clear if people entering the U.S. in a pleasure boat will be subject to the rules for border-crossing by "sea". Rules for entering Canada will remain the same.  ( 2006/04/21)


green buoy Trent-Severn Waterway changes

Apr/06: Boaters have until April 27, 2006 to comment on 433 proposed changes to buoyage on the Trent-Severn Waterway. Most proposals are to discontinue floating buoys. Changes will affect the Otonabee and Holland rivers. Information about making comments can be found at the beginning of the notice found at


Boat Licenses move to Service Canada

Apr/06: Pleasure craft Licensing will now be handled by Service Canada on behalf of Transport Canada. New boats or transfers can be made at any of 320 offices of Service Canada at no charge. (Boat licences will no longer be available through the Canada Border Services Agency, formerly Customs Canada.) All license information will be retained in a computer data base available to Search and Rescue in the event of an emergency. A new numbering system will be introduced: Ontario numbers will start with ON, Quebec with QC. Current owners may keep their old number if they wish. Entering old license numbers into the new system is optional at no charge.  ( - Pleasure Craft Licence)


Seal Hunt under attack

Mar/06: The annual harp seal hunt has been attacked by environmental groups, who are even urging a boycott of Canadian products. This spring, pop star Paul & Heather McCartney Paul McCartney and his wife posed beside a whitecoat pup on the east coast (too young to be legally taken as Canada banned killing very young harp seals in 1987). Seals have been harvested for generations as part of a traditional way of life in Newfoundland. Concerns about killing methods and conservation virtually ended the hunt in the 1980s, but the increasing numbers of cod-eating seals have resurrected the hunt. Brian Davies, founder of International Fund for Animal Welfare, is one of the seal hunt's most outspoken critics. He's been arrested numerous times and ultimately banned from the hunt. IFAW spent $1 million on its media campaign last year.

A 2002 report in the Canadian Veterinary Journal found that "the large majority of seals taken during this hunt ? are killed in an acceptably humane manner." The Royal Commission on Seals and Sealing in Canada found that clubbing with a "hakapik" is at least as humane as killing methods in commercial slaughterhouses.

Senator C?line Hervieux-Payette received an email from a Minnesota family upset about Canada's seal hunt. Her reply denouncing the United States for executing prisoners at home and killing people in Iraq caused an uproar. She invited the McLellans to come to Canada to see a humane society that lives in safety and respects the traditions of its native people.  (CBC backgrounder)


What's draining two Great Lakes?

Mar/06: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is disputing findings of a controversial report that claims the levels of lakes Michigan and Huron have been declining for 44 years. They are calling for a detailed study of an "irreversible drop" in the lakes and a corresponding rise in Lake Erie levels. The International Joint Commission (IJC), a U.S.-Canadian governmental group charged with stewardship of the Great Lakes, says it will review the situation.  (Detroit News)


USCG puts machine guns on Great Lakes

Mar/06: U.S. Coast Guard vessels on the Great Lakes are being outfitted with miliary machine-guns (previously they had handguns and rifles). The antiquated Rush-Bagot Treaty of 1817 has recently been reinterpreted because of U.S. concerns about customs violations, human smuggling and international terrorism. Canadian Foreign Affairs has agreed to interpret the treaty so that a coast guard vessels carrying guns may consider them weapons of law enforcement rather than war. Canada reserves the right to arm its own vessels as well, an official told CBC News.


New Montreal Yacht Club

Feb/06: Pierre Marcotte has been named commodore of a new Yacht Club run by the Lachine Marina administration in Montreal, Quebec. It will be located in the Victoria basin going into the Old Port. Transient activities will stay at present location on the Jacques Cartier wharf at Old Port Marina. Several marinas have closed recently so this will be a welcome addition to the local boating scene.


Biodiesel-powered Boat to Circumnavigate

Feb/06: New Zealand-based biofuel powerboat project "The Earthrace", will attempt to set the world record for circumnavigating the globe to prove the use of biodiesel. The current 75-day record is held by British boat "Cable and Wireless", 1998. After a promotional tour of 60 cities in 2006 (Victoria, Vancouver, Montreal, Alexandra Bay Aug8, Toronto Aug11, Detroit Aug15), the team will attempt to break the 75-day record for a boat around the world in the spring of 2007.

Pete Bethune has created an amazing looking powerboat, using 100% biodiesel fuel, low emission engines, non-toxic antifouling, efficient hull design and solar powered electronics. Earthrace has a top speed of 50 knots and cruises at 25 knots (29mph/46kph). It is expected to use 70,000 litres of biofuels ? mostly animal or plant fats ? on the 50,000km trip.  (


Derek Hatfield prepares for Velux 5 Oceans race

Derek Hatfield

Feb/06: 34% of Canadians polled said they had heard of Derek Hatfield or his boat "Spirit of Canada" sailing alone around the world, according to Insignia Marketing Research Inc. (Toronto). Canadian sailor Derek Hatfield raced in 2002 and is planning to enter the race in September in his new Open 60 - also called ?Spirit of Canada?. He will be competing with sailors from all over the world in a single handed, international, sailing race around the world called Around Alone, held every 4 years. As before, he is raising funds from thousands of Canadian "crew", whose names are painted on the hull. (We're crew #2551!)

Derek Hatfield, 2003 Canadian Rolex Sailor of the Year, is the 126th person to ever finish a single-handed race around the world. Competing with the Open 40 Spirit of Canada he finished 3rd (Class II) in the 2002/03 Around Alone race, despite a life threatening and catastrophic capsize near Cape Horn. ( | ?Spirit of Canada? Open House)
From our News archives: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2001.


Colin Angus vying for first Human-powered Circumnavigation

Feb/06: 42,000 km. by foot, oar, ski and bicycle. Vancouverite Colin Angus, Julie Wafaeij and Tim Harvey left Canada in June 2005 to begin the trip around the world using only human power. From Portugal, Colin and Julie spent 4 months in an 8-metre ocean rowboat "Ondine", to reach St. Lucia in January. The two surviving Hurricane Vince (95 miles from the eye of in October), Hurricane Epsilon, and 2 tropical storms! They are enroute to Costa Rica, planning to bicycle to Vancouver by April. (


Ethanol problems in older Fiberglass Gas Tanks

Feb/06: Fibreglass gas tanks made before the mid-1980s should be checked if you use newer alcohol-gasoline blends. Boat/U.S., a large American boat owners association found more than 30 cases where tanks made before the mid-1980s produced sludge or began leaking after being filled with 10% ethanol-gasoline mixture. The ethanol may be attacking the resins used in making older fibreglass. This sludge can destroy the engine. Inspect the underside of the carburetor for a black, gummy film. (


Ontario permit to Dive shipwrecks

Jan/06: You must get special permission and a licence from the province to access 3 famous shipwrecks in Ontario. The shipwrecks contain human remains and must be treated with care and respect. This is a new regulation under the Ontario Heritage Act.

The Edmund Fitzgerald, an American bulk carrier, sank in a storm in 1975. All 29 crew were lost in Canadian waters northwest of Whitefish Point, Mich. (Lake Superior). The Hamilton and Scourge, merchant schooners in naval service during the War of 1812. both sank north of Port Dalhousie, Lake Ontario, in 1813. 53 of the 72 crews perished.

"Now they're gone, almost forgotten,
Officers and men and sails of cotton;
Their hulks abandoned, timbers rotten,
A memory of by-gone days."

Canadian Boating News News Archive