Boating in Canada Archive

1999 Canadian Boating News

International Yacht racing on TV

From newsgroup can.rec.boating comes this news:

..from a reply I got from TSN ..on Oct 22/99:
"Our coverage will begin on Jan. 2, 2000 with the Challengers Cup. As it stands we will be providing at least 55 hours of the Challengers and the America's Cup. Though we don't have a schedule confirmed at this time, please stay tuned to TSN [The Sports Network on cable TV] for all of the latest information and broadcast schedule information."

America's Cup news.

Great Lakes water exports (Great Lakes Governors Council)

The federal government is responsible for waters shared with the U.S. like the Great Lakes; the provinces control their own water resources. The Great Lakes hold 20% of the the world's fresh water. Companies are looking to export bulk water from the lakes to thirsty people around the world.

Federal Environment Minister David Anderson said: "Once you start exports of water, bulk exports, there is no turning off the tap."

In October, the Great Lakes Governors Council and the Ontario Premier Mike Harris agreed to come up with a standard set of guidelines to restrict export or diversion of Great Lakes water in October. Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard told Harris he supports the plan. A report to the Council stated that 450 million people in 31 countries are short of fresh water, with numbers rising. Draft rules are expected in February 2000.

Recently, Newfoundland decided not to allow a bid to sell water from Gisborne Lake and will introduce a ban on all water exports.

In 1998, Ontario approved, then revoked a licence for a Canadian company to ship millions of litres of water a day to Asia. In April, 1999 Ontario banned bulk exports of water from the Great Lakes, but some lawyers warn that banning export could be struck down under the North American Free Trade Agreement and other trade laws. [It was unfortunate the George Vradenburg, Senior VP for globabl Strategic policy at AOL, repeatedly referred to Ontario as a state in his talk to the conference.]

Marine Accident Liability

There are changes to the liability limitations under the Canada Shipping Act. Federal Bill S-4 allows for higher liability limits for marine accidents - up to $1,500,000. Review your boat insurance policy with your agent to make sure existing limits are sufficient to protect you in case of an accident.

New Regulations will be enforced in 2000

This year saw a huge number of new regulations affecting pleasure boats. Most policing was of the educational variety this summer, but regulations will be enforced next summer. Boaters in some boats will need to wear PFDs or carry additional safety equipment. Mandatory safety equipment has expanded on most boats according to their length AND type of use. Do you have a watertight flashlight? Boarding ladder?

Mandatory Boat Equipment summarizes some of the regulations from the CCG Office of Boating Safety (OBS), responsible for recreational boating safety policy.

Contravention Act is a brief summery of the federal act being adopted by most provinces which will be enforced by local police, RCMP and CCG using on-the-water tickets with fines being mailed in. Small Vessels Regulations is the responsibility of Transport Canada.

Trans-Atlantic kayak attempt from Canada in 2000

In June 2000, Peter Bray will attempt to become the first person to kayak solo and unsupported accross the Atlantic. Three attempts by others failed. He hopes to raise £1 million for children's charities.

Great Lakes toxins cause infertility (Sep 23/99)

Great Lakes toxins is a news report from the Ottawa Citizen Online about the IJC conference on water quality in the Great Lakes.

Public hearings on exports of Great Lakes water

The International Joint Commission (IJC) will hold public hearings in 12 cities to solicit public comment on its interim report, "Protection of the Waters of the Great Lakes" (Aug/99) on the uses, diversions, and bulk exports of Great Lakes water. If you cannot attend, send your comments to the IJC or e-mail them to

  1. London - Oct 5
  2. Toronto - Oct 12
  3. Ottawa - Oct 13
  4. Sault Ste. Marie - Oct 19
  5. Thunder Bay - Oct 21 -- NOTE new date (was Oct 20)
  6. Montréal - Oct 21

Great Lakes water levels down

Water levels are down in all five lakes and dry weather in the entire area has reduced the normal spring rise. Two ships have gone aground in the St. Lawrence Seaway even with reduced loads many are carrying to minimize draft. Pleasure boats are hitting rocks and marinas are wondering if they will reach haulout slips in the fall. Ferries have been stopped as car ramps could not reach the dock. Wells are running dry and the entire lakes basin is concerned about drinking water supply for millions. See the Water Level page for more information.

New "Safe Boating Guide"

The new 1999 safe boating guide is hot off the press. There are many new regulations, including required equipment for boats (with new categories for paddleboats, pwcs, sailboards, etc.). Starting april 1999, there are new muffler requirements within 5 miles of shore. There are new regulations for "capacity plate" and "conformity plate" and "single vessel plate" which we are still trying to figure out (the regulations appear to conflict with what is written in the guide).

There are also new operator requirements including "Age-horsepower" restrictions. Starting April 1999, children under 16 will have to be supervised over 40 HP; under 12 need supervision over 10 HP, and persons under 16 years are restricted from operating personal watercraft (PWCs), supervised or not.

VHF Station Licence No More

Your boat's VHF radio will no longer need a licence after April 1999 due to recent changes to the Radiocommunications Regulations (Section 15.2 Exemption of Radio Apparatus on Board a Ship). If you decide to take the radio and boat cruising to the Bahamas, you must either maintain the licence or re-apply to Industry Canada for a radio licence. (I assume you still require an operator's licence.) See the VHF Page for more.

Your ship radio station is exempt from requiring a radio licence if:

Presqu'ile Provincial Park

Presqu'ile Provincial Park has a "preliminary plan" that includes many new regulations affecting boaters. Read the boater alert sent out by Chuck Boyce, a member of the Executive for Presqu'ile Yacht Club, Brighton, Ontario.

GPS Rollover

You may have thought Y2K was the problem of the year. GPS Rollover Week will occur at 23:59:47 GMT August 21, 1999 (7 p.m. in Eastern Standard Time). At this time, your GPS unit may malfunction and think it's January 6, 1980 instead! Eagle/Lowrance, Garmin, Magellan and others have no problems with this, but it's better to be safe than get lost. Our GPS page has links for more information.

Time in the GPS signal, is sent as a "week" from number 0 to 1023. On week number 1024, it resets to zero (about every 19.5 years). Your GPS may lose its lock on a satellite, take more time to acquire one, or not give a fix for ten minutes or longer.

In an attempt to learn what effect all this would have on GPS receivers in use today, we contacted several manufacturers and relayed these concerns to them.... First, all current production GPS systems produced by the companies we spoke with will adjust for GPS week rollover and continue to operate normally after August 1999. Most units produced in the last decade will also operate correctly, but some will benefit from a software upgrade to enhance warm-start capability and rapid satellite acquisition. In many cases, the upgrade is free, but will require that you return your GPS to a dealer to accomplish the work. Unfortunately, older GPS units will not operate after August 1999 and no upgrades are available.

--- by Joe Minick, Cruising World's electronics editor (5/97) (

Contact the manufacturer of your GPS unit with model and serial number to find out if you can upgrade it! For more about GPS rollover, and links to manufacturers and upgrade information.

Stuemer family world cruise in Northern Magic

January 1999: The Ottawa Citizen now provides a Web site for the Stuemer family aboard the steel pleasure sailboat Northern Magic. Readers of the newspaper have been reading weekly articles written by Diane Stuemer about herself, husband Herbert and their three young boys who are sailing around the world. They began from Ottawa, Ontario in the fall of 1997, travelled down the east coast of North America, through the Panama Canal, and across the Pacific to Australia, where they spent Christmas 1998 reading thousands of greetings and good wishes from Citizen readers.

GPS Wristwatch

January 1999: Casio Computer Co. (appologies for the free ad) hope to sell the world's first GPS navigation wristwatch this spring! The built-in Global Positioning System will receive signals from the GPS satellites orbiting the earth, then compute your position and displays it on a tiny screen.

Tall Ship 2000

July 20-Aug 28, 1999: Tall Ships 2000 ( features almost 150 world-class tall ships from around the world visiting countries on both sides of the Atlantic, and promises to be the biggest millennium event Canada will host. Halifax, N.S. will be the Canadian host of the Tall Ships 2000 July 20-24,2000 race. At the end of the Boston to Halifax leg of the race, the tall ships will arrive in Halifax July 20-24, 1999 for the portion of the race from Boston to Halifax. Around Aug 24-28, 1999, the ships will leave Halifax for the leg of the race from Halifax to Amsterdam, Netherlands.

The Tall Ship Millennium Challenge of Lunenburg is working to have a Canadian entry in the Tall Ships 2000 Race and Operation Sail, the largest gathering of tall ships in history! Currently, the non-profit corporation plans to charter a vessel to sail under the Maple Leaf with a crew of Canadian young people.

The Canadian Sail Training Association, the umbrella organization that operates over a dozen vessels, plans to send at least these three Canadian flagged vessels crewed by young Canadians to greet the Tall Ship Millennium Challenge entry when the racing boats arrives in Halifax from Boston - the Fair Jeanne (Bytown Brigantine), St.Lawrence II (Kingston), and True North (Toronto).

Around Alone Yacht Race

The Around Alone Yacht Race - this eight month single-handed 43,000 kilometre sailing race is the ultimate in individual sailing endurance.

  1. Sept 1998 - Charleston, U.S.A. to Cape Town, South Africa
  2. Dec 5, 1998 - Cape Town, South Africa to Auckland, New Zealand
  3. Feb 6, 1999 - Auckland to Punta del Este, Uruguay
  4. - Punta del Este, Uruguay to Charleston, U.S.A. ending in May 1999.

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