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Paddle Canada and the CSBC


Did you know that we, Paddle Canada are proud members of the Canadian Safe Boating Council? And that I sit on the Board of Directors for the CSBC? Earlier this month, I attended (and presented at) the CSBC annual symposium and met with other organizations that are in the business of safe boating. Other attendees included (but were not limited to) Parks Canada, Canot Kayak Quebec, Salus, Mustang Survivor, Nautisme Quebec, the Lifesaving Society, the Canadian Coast Guard, and multiple police marine units. The theme of the symposium was “On the Water, we are a Community” I introduced who we are as an organization, our mission, and goals, how BIG we are**, that we are member-owned and funded, and spoke of what we can offer the on-water community, and what we need. I was approached many times after I spoke with people commenting that they did not know exactly what Paddle Canada did, nor were they aware of just how big our paddling community is. There were a number of interesting presentations, (with lots of statistics!) you can review them here if you are interested…they are the PowerPoint presentations of each presenter, so not a complete snapshot of what any of the presenters spoke about.

Being part of this community of organizations and individuals that are dedicated to being safe on the water, I wanted to share a bit about what the CSBC does. This is a group of both individual volunteers and people like myself, representing an organization. The Canadian Safe Boating Council is in the business of promoting safe and responsible boating throughout Canada.  As an alliance of members committed to preventing boating injuries and drowning, the Canadian Safe Boating Council works to achieve its mission through a few major events.

One of these events at the annual Canadian Safe Boating Awards (the CASBAS); each January, stakeholders in recreational boating safety assemble to honour the people, programs, organizations, and marinas that help to make boating in Canada safer and better for all of us and to keep the environment clean. Of special significance to award recipients is that, with the exception of the Canadian Safe Boating Council’s Special Recognition Award, their nomination came from people like you; those in the industry, boating safety organizations, and the general public. For more information on the awards, and how to nominate someone, information is available in both English and French.

The second event I want to share is the Virtual Cold Water Workshops facilitated by Dr. Gordon Giesbrecht (aka Professor Popsicle) of the University of Manitoba and a world-renowned expert in hypothermia. I know that a number of Paddle Canada instructors have taken part in some of these workshops over the year, and have benefitted greatly from them-especially if you spend some of the “shoulder seasons” on the water.

I have enjoyed working on the CSBC, and feel fortunate that I am able to represent the paddler in this forum. (and looking forward to next year’s symposium to be held in Newfoundland!) If you ever have any questions, concerns, or ideas that you would like me to take to either the CSBC or Transport Canada (I also sit on the National Recreational Boating Advisory Council to Transport Canada) please drop me an email!

Paddle Safe!
Michelle McShane
Executive Director, Paddle Canada

**How big are we?? Our database has over 60,000 names in it. (these are people who have participated in a Paddle Canada course in the past 15-20 years or so) Currently, we have about 1700active Instructor Members, BUT over the past 15-20 years, we have had a total of 10,000 instructors (not all active, but have at least taken an instructor course at some point) Over the past 15-20 years, we have reported over 30,000 courses and clinics, delivered to over 100,000 people (clinics do not capture names of participants in case you were wondering about the math)