The Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) held its annual CASBAs awards gala at the Sheraton Centre in Toronto, Ontario, on the evening of January 10.
CSBC's annual event recognized the efforts of the general public, volunteers, professionals, companies, agencies and organizations that have distinguished themselves in the fields of boating safety and environmental stewardship during the 2015 boating season.
The winners were selected from a host of nominations received from the public at large, covering boating safety stories from British Columbia to Quebec.
CASBA award recipients include:
Stearns Rescue of the Year: Nicholas Thompson and Ashley Hum
Nicholas Thompson, a sailing coach at YMCA Camp Kitchikewana, was working with Ashley Hum on August 12 on the waters of Georgian Bay where a number of young campers were sailing. A boat, with three teenagers aboard, was overwhelmed by a strong wind gust that capsized and turtled their vessel, entangling one of the passengers and trapping them underwater. The teenager was entangled sufficiently that it took both Nick and Ashley working together to free the camper who was no longer breathing. Commencing CPR, together Ashley and Nick were able to resuscitate the camper.
Ontario Power Generation Best Boating Safety Initiative: WaterWise Boat Safety Team
The Water Wise Team of Sienna Joyce and Maddy Steinwand travelled throughout British Columbia delivering key safety messages in 2015. Whether working in tandem with other groups or policing agencies, attending community events, media interviews, using social media or going hands-on in the classroom, their focus on boating safety and drowning prevention was WaterWise Wisdom in action. The program, managed by the Lifesaving Society of BC and Yukon, has completed 16 great seasons and continues to expand its reach.
Top Volunteer Dedicated to Boating Safety: Gary Clow
As a volunteer with the Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons (CPS) since 1998, Gary has served in a variety of capacities in two Squadrons, including time spent as a newsletter editor/contributor, several executive positions (including Commander) as well as a training officer. While Clow has given in excess of 2,500 hours of his time, it has been his commitment and drive to develop and an on-water course standard that set's him above his peers. He committed his efforts to transitioning lessons from the classroom to application on the water.
Marine Professional of the Year: Jim Millson
A serving member with the Ontario Provincial Police for over 30 years, Millson has spent a significant portion of his service dedicated to marine policing on the north shore of Lake Erie. His determination to address the many safety and policing challenges in particular for "Pottahawk Sunday' (2,500 boats and almost 10,000 people in the water) led to the creation of an operations plan that resulted in no Impaired charges, no medical calls or stranded individuals and under 60 tickets laid despite 600 vessel inspections in one weekend. Millson has built a reputation for engaging youth, working with clubs and marine professionals with positive results.
Safe Guarding the Environment: CIL Orion
Working to prevent the disposal of expired marine flares in landfills, CIL Orion in partnership with the Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons has made a significant commitment to ensure these pyrotechnics are dealt with in an environmentally friendly manner. After a pilot project in 2014, CIL Orion committed to a Canada-wide initiative to dispose of collected flares, regardless of manufacture. In 2015, over 20,000 flares were neutralized and recycled at their facility in Quebec and it is projected another 50,000 may be collected over the next two years.
Visible PFD Wear in Advertising: York Regional Police – Marine Unit
The York Regional Police Marine Unit is comprised of a group of highly qualified and dedicated marine officers. Skilled in vessel operations and underwater search and recovery they are well aware of the benefits of boaters wearing lifejackets and PFD's. This past season the team created a series of social media videos and no matter the topic, personal floatation devices figured predominately.
Media Contribution to Boating Safety: SAATCHI and SAATCHI
The creative minds at SAATCHI and SAATCHI addressed the challenge of taking a serious boating safety issue and creating a delivery tool to captures the attention of the audience without diminishing the message. This led to the creation of two television public service announcements carrying the theme: "The Second You Boat While Impaired, You're a Criminal'. These were aired nationally on Fish N Canada in 2015.
Special Recognition Award: Chris Foster
While Chris Foster served as a police officer for 35 years, but it was his tenure as a marine officer with the Ontario Provincial Police where his passion for public service really shone. While duty required him to investigate a variety calls – including onboard domestics, break and enters, lost/stranded boaters, collisions and fatalities – he displayed a desire to enhance the boating experience. Foster dove into his role with marine student selection and training, was a sought after speaker, was featured in local television series, all the while maintaining a high level of enforcement with a focus on reducing Impaired boating incidents.
The CSBC is a registered charity, and its members and partners from all areas of the marine community include boat and marine product manufacturers, boating education organizations, water safety and marine law enforcement sectors. The organization's goal is to work to ensure that the millions of Canadians who head out on the water are equipped with the knowledge they need for a safe day on the water.