Safer waters beckon thanks to the Peterborough Power and Sail Squadron

Dedicated to boating safety and best on-water practices, organization again offers popular course starting September 17

Regardless of the size of your boat, "Boating 2: Beyond The Basics" will help you acquire new boating skills or brush up on the skills you already have. Registration is now open for the course, offered by the Peterborough Power and Sail Squadron, which runs every Monday evening for six weeks beginning on September 17, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Peterborough Power and Sail Squadron)
Regardless of the size of your boat, "Boating 2: Beyond The Basics" will help you acquire new boating skills or brush up on the skills you already have. Registration is now open for the course, offered by the Peterborough Power and Sail Squadron, which runs every Monday evening for six weeks beginning on September 17, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Peterborough Power and Sail Squadron)

In a sink-or-swim world, the Peterborough Power and Sail Squadron, while hopeful we can do the latter, is hard at it ensure we never do the former.

Since 1959, the local unit of Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons has trained thousands of pleasure boaters in safe practices and knowledge of area waterways via a number of training courses.

Starting Monday, September 17th, “Boating 2: Beyond The Basics” will be offered anew, allowing holders of the required Pleasure Craft Operator’s Card to acquire new boating skills and/or brush up on skills that have long laid dormant. Course instruction is each Monday evening for six weeks through November 5th.

The course will be held at Adam Scott Collegiate and Vocational Institute (175 Langton St., Peterborough). The cost is $145 for squadron members ($165 for non-members) with registration available online at www.boatingcourses.ca/cities/Peterborough.

“This course that talks about navigation, safety, anchoring, lines, ropes, knots … it’s a little bit of everything,” explains Peterborough Power and Sail Squadron commander Nick Cliteur.

Peterborough Power and Sail Squadron commander Nick Cliteur who, along with other squadron members, is an instructor of the "Boating 2: Beyond The Basics" course.  (Photo courtesy of Peterborough Power and Sail Squadron)
Peterborough Power and Sail Squadron commander Nick Cliteur who, along with other squadron members, is an instructor of the “Boating 2: Beyond The Basics” course. (Photo courtesy of Peterborough Power and Sail Squadron)

He says this is the third year Boating 2 has been offered, noting it evolved from the breaking up of a much more comprehensive course into two smaller courses.

Upon completing the Boating Two course — all pass, assures Cmdr. Cliteur — those interested can opt to take Boating 3, which focuses on marine navigation skills.

“We try to convince you that if you stick around for another six weeks, we’ll introduce you to charts and how to navigate, and how to get round safely using a compass, bearings and that sort of stuff,” Cmdr. Cliteur says.

“Some people are happy just taking the Boating 2 course, and then some say ‘Hey, that was so interesting, I’m sticking around for Boating 3.’ We average seven to 10 students in our courses and can accommodate a maximum of 20.

“The nice thing about that is we have seven to 10 instructors, people who have been on the water boating for years and years. It’s one-on-one. That’s why we know that by the time they’re finished the course, they will pass.”

All instructors are squadron members, Cmdr. Cliteur among them.

“We’re very fortunate to have some very talented people instructing. We have a guy who knows everything about anchors. He teaches that part. I’m pretty good with spring and fall lay-ups: how to get ready for the boating season and how to put things to bed. Trent-Severn (Waterway) always has a person come and join us just to talk about how to get through the locks.”

The "Boating 2: Beyond The Basics" course also includes information on how to navigate through the locks on the Trent-Severn Waterway.  (Photo courtesy of Peterborough Power and Sail Squadron)
The “Boating 2: Beyond The Basics” course also includes information on how to navigate through the locks on the Trent-Severn Waterway. (Photo courtesy of Peterborough Power and Sail Squadron)

With the Peterborough Power and Sail Squadron set to mark its 60th anniversary next year — its charter was granted June 17, 1959 upon the passing of the basic piloting exam by 10 members of what was then the Peterborough Piloting Club — a number of outreach activities are being planned. Details will be posted on the squadron’s social media platforms as well as its website at www.peterboroughsafeboating.org.

According to Cmdr. Cliteur, one can look no further than the membership to explain the squadron’s track record of success.

“Every organization, including us, would love to increase membership but we’ve been very consistent,” he says.

“I’d love to find a way to meet and greet younger people and invite them to come and join us with their ideas. Whatever works for them, we’d love to get them involved. Everybody likes to do something, so we try and find out what those somethings are.”

In partnership with Transport Canada, the Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons offer a free recreational vessel courtesy check to confirm compliance with Transport Canada;s Safe Boating Guide.  (Photo courtesy of Peterborough Power and Sail Squadron)
In partnership with Transport Canada, the Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons offer a free recreational vessel courtesy check to confirm compliance with Transport Canada;s Safe Boating Guide. (Photo courtesy of Peterborough Power and Sail Squadron)

“For the tenth year, we’ve gone out and dedicated a few hours at various locations and met other boaters and made sure their boats are safe as a free courtesy,” Cmdr. Cliteur says.

“It shows people the passion we have for boating and for boating safety. On August 25th, we’ll be meeting people at the locks in Buckhorn for the Rock The Locks event. It’s a chance for the people on my bridge to get out and answer questions and have a fun activity for three or four hours.

“We have some of the most enterprising members. We like to do more than just boat. During the winter months, when the boats are put to bed, we like to get out and do things like bowling or curling, just for a day or evening out.”

Among its activities, the Peterborough Power and Sail Squadron does educational outreach in the community. Pictured are squadrom members at an awareness and information booth at St. John's Anglican Church in Lakefield in June, which featured a special "Boaters Blessing" service.  (Photo courtesy of Peterborough Power and Sail Squadron)
Among its activities, the Peterborough Power and Sail Squadron does educational outreach in the community. Pictured are squadrom members at an awareness and information booth at St. John’s Anglican Church in Lakefield in June, which featured a special “Boaters Blessing” service. (Photo courtesy of Peterborough Power and Sail Squadron)

On a personal level, Cmdr. Cliteur is proud to join a long line of predecessors who have guided the squadron and kept it true to its mandate.

“I took an oath to promote boating safety, to support the members of the bridge, to support the membership in ensuring that everything that we can do to take our membership to the next level, by listening, being involved, and working with the national team,” he says.

“Recreational boating is as strong as ever. People are finding it a little more difficult to buy bigger units but, on the other hand, we’re seeing a huge increase in the number of people using personal watercraft. That’s as much a vessel as a 30 or 35-foot unit.

“We’re trying to figure out a way to reach out to those people to teach us how we can make it safer for them or give them information to stay safe out there. That is the one challenge we have. It’s critical that they understand the importance of being safe on the water and that we work together to ensure that.”

Peterborough Power and Sail Squadron, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2019, is a unit of Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons, which celebrated its 80th anniverary this year.  (Graphic courtesy of Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons)
Peterborough Power and Sail Squadron, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2019, is a unit of Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons, which celebrated its 80th anniverary this year. (Graphic courtesy of Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons)

Canadian Power Squadron (CPS) was founded in Windsor in 1938 after a group of boaters travelled to the Detroit Power Squadron to take the United States Power Squadrons Coastal Navigation Course. Upon their successful completion of the course, they formed the Windsor Power Squadron. There are now 166 squadrons in all provinces and the Yukon Territory.

CPS was incorporated in 1947 and, in 1985, changed its name to Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons. At that time, the French name, Escadrilles canadiennes de plaisance, was formally adopted.

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Paul Rellinger
Paul Rellinger a.k.a Relly is an award-winning journalist and longtime former newspaper editor still searching for the perfect lead. When he's not putting pen to paper, Paul is on a sincere but woefully futile quest to own every postage stamp ever issued. A rabid reader of history, Paul claims to know who killed JFK but can't say out of fear for the safety of his oh so supportive wife Mary, his three wonderful kids and his three spirited grandchildren. Paul counts among his passions Peterborough's rich live music scene, the Toronto Maple Leafs, slopitch and retrieving golf balls from the woods. You can follow Paul on Twitter at @rellywrites.

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