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Canadian Safe Boating Council

Symposium Report







September 23 to 25, 2012

Gravenhurst, Ontario




Symposium Report








The Canadian Safe Boating Council is grateful for

the support of our Symposium 2012 sponsors


                                                 Our Gold Sponsors

Cook Rees Memorial Fund

Ontario Power Generation

Yamaha Motor Canada


Our Silver Sponsors

BOATsmart! Canada

Brunswick Boat Group

Canadian Recreation Products

Helly Hansen

Mustang Survival

Stearns (Division of Coleman Canada)


Our Bronze Sponsor

Boating Ontario


Our Media Sponsors

Adastra Media

Metroland Media Group


The Canadian Safe Boating Council is grateful to the following local and national media for their Symposium 2012 presence and

the resulting local and national media coverage


Metroland North

CTV-News Barrie

Sun Media

Power Boating Magazine




Canadian Safe Boating Council Annual Symposium

Gravenhurst, September 23-25, 2012


Table of Contents

Introduction …………………………………………………………………………………...

What We Achieved ……………………………………………………………………………

Measuring Our Success ………………………………………………………………………...


Pre-Symposium Beyond Cold Water Boot Camp, September 22 ……………………………

Welcome Reception, September 23 ……………………………………………………..

Day One: September 24 …………………………………..…………………………….

Day Two: September 25 ………………………………………….…………………….

Wrap-up ………………………………………………………………………………………...

Appendix 1: Overview of Delegates ……………………………………………………………..

Appendix 2: Symposium Agenda ………………………………………………………………..

Appendix 3: Presenters’ Biographies ……………………………………………………………



Each September, the Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) reaches out across the Canadian and international boating safety community to host an annual symposium, bringing together both national and international speakers and panelists to promote awareness of key boating safety issues and related solutions. The symposium is held in different locations across Canada from year to year, exposing attendees to regional as well as national perspectives on boating safety. Year over year, the symposium contributes to boating safety by engaging an ever-growing community of stakeholders across Canada.

From September 23 to 25, 2012, 60 delegates gathered in Gravenhurst, Ontario to participate in this year’s annual event, Symposium 2012. The conference assembled representatives from across the boating safety world and indeed the globe – New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States.

An overview of delegates can be found at Appendix 1.

What We Achieved

The Symposium illustrated clearly that, be it the coastal waters of New Zealand or the fresh waters of Canada, virtually all countries with a boating community face the similar challenges: influencing boater behaviour, getting the right data on which to base policies and interventions, resource constraints in the face of growing demands and achieving higher rates of lifejacket wear. Similar opportunities are also shared around the globe, notably working with partners to achieve results. To that end, Symposium participants shared their insights and best practices towards improving their safety on the water.

The Symposium consisted of an all-day “Cold Water Boot Camp” (pre-Symposium), followed by two all-day plenary sessions. The boot camp provided a hands-on lesson in the unique science of saving a person found in cold water. Over the course of the two plenary days, representatives of the boating safety units of several coast guard and life-saving agencies and community-based organizations, among others, delivered presentations on a wide range of related issues. Wharf-side sessions completed the mix with a mini-Cold Water Boot Camp for symposium delegates and an on-water presentation from the marine unit of the Ontario Provincial Police.

The meeting’s idyllic venue – the Grace and Speed Muskoka Boat and Heritage Centre, situated wharf-side on Lake Muskoka – along with the theme of presentations focused the thoughts and exchanges among delegates on the ongoing importance of enjoying boating safely.

The complete agenda can be found in Appendix 2.

Measuring Our Success

Feedback from the delegates illustrated the success of the Symposium; more than 60% of delegates found it met their expectations, and 32% felt it exceeded theirs. They appreciated both the quality and content of presentations, the roster of speakers, the setting, and more. Close to 90% of those who commented said they plan to register again. Delegate comments included: “Great international make-up, excellent topics, location, camaraderie; multi-national participation and sharing of info was exceptional; solid adherence to theme – it’s clear that across the globe we share the same challenges!”


Following are brief overviews of the various presentations and activities of the Symposium. Presentations are available online at www.csbc.ca . Available biographies of presenters can be found at Appendix 3.

Beyond Cold Water Boot Camp, Saturday, September 22 (pre-Symposium)

An all-day on-water boot camp was held at the wharf of the Marriott Residence Inn for the benefit of Symposium delegates who are first responders. Dr. Gordon Giesbrecht, a professor of thermo-physiology with the University of Manitoba and an authority on human cold research, conducted the workshop. It included a review of the myriad of considerations when dealing with a victim in cold water – from the mechanics of heat loss and thermal protection, triaging and extracting techniques, to rewarming and packaging the individual for transportation. At the end of this full day of instruction, participants were awarded a certificate of completion, and an important new perspective on the unique threats of cold water to the boater in trouble in the water and the rescuer that finds him.

Reception, Sunday, September 23

A reception held at Grace and Speed, the Muskoka Boat and Heritage Centre, provided an ideal venue for the CSBC’s John Gullick to welcome delegates to the Symposium. On hand to warmly welcome delegates were Her Worship Alice Murphy, Mayor of the Township of Muskoka Lakes, Mr. John Klinck, Chair, District of Muskoka, Mr. Norm Miller, Member of Provincial Parliament, Parry Sound - Muskoka and CSBC Chair Jean Murray. Mayor Murphy expressed appreciation for the work of the Council in promoting safe boating, and best wishes for a fruitful Symposium. John Gullick acknowledged the symposium delegate that had travelled the furthest, an honour graciously received by Howard Glenn hailing from New South Wales, Australia. All international delegates were presented with a commemorative hand-painted coin celebrating the Canadian Coast Guard’s 50th anniversary.

Day One: Monday, September 24

John Murray, Transport Canada – Update from Transport Canada

Mr. Murray noted the federal government’s ongoing commitment to fund education and awareness projects that promote safe boating practices. Some $500K in Boating Safety Contribution Program funding has been set aside for the 2013-14 boating season; this will rise to and remain at $975K per year, beginning in 2014-15. Transport Canada will accept funding requests for the 2013-14 boating season until November 1, 2013. He also highlighted the recent improvements to the National Pleasure Craft Operator Competency Program including the new national boating safety tests, an internet testing system and a centralized database of card holders.  Mr. Murray indicated that accreditation requirements for course providers are also being enhanced and are expected to be in place in early 2013.

Jeff Hoedt, Chief, Office of Boating Safety, United States Coast Guard – Update from the United States

Mr. Hoedt shared with delegates an overview of boating safety initiatives in the United States, and some of the challenge his organization is facing in helping to reduce fatalities and change behaviour. He reinforced the importance of an aggressive stance regarding the collection data and the priority his organization places on good data and evidence to buttress boating safety initiatives. An example of this is the value and effectiveness of a biannual national survey now in place that identifies boating trends. With program revenues tied to the number of registered motorboats, the funding of the Office of Boating Safety has decreased in direct relation to the 2.4% decrease in motorboat registrations. This has impacts on the capacity to effect needed change – all the more unfortunate because boating deaths in 2011 in the United States were the highest in 13 years. He noted that boating safety partners could play a role in stimulating more political interest in the boating safety – this could serve to increase understanding and awareness of the ongoing importance of the investments needed to influence boater behaviour. He noted the success that fishing and hunting communities have achieved in bringing support and attention to their issues.

Mr. Hoedt also discussed the Office of Boating Safety’s latest proposal before Congress to introduce mandatory education (currently, the national percentage of boat operators required to take education stands at a mere 23.5%) as well as efforts to introduce North American lifejacket standards.

Click here to access the presentation.

Bill Jennings, Boating Safety Educator, Power Boating Academy – Education through Motivation

Mr. Jennings challenged delegates to consider the greater potential to change boating behaviour by motivating rather than legislating, reinforcing that boaters look to other boaters, and that targeting “leaders” could serve to influence others. By way of example, he suggested that boaters must first be convinced that they need to wear a life jacket before they will consider changing their habits. In this respect, he suggested that they are more likely to ask a fellow boater for insight and education and, ultimately, to emulate the example they set. This, he suggested, was more a more compelling motivator than adherence to any law. His presentation also addressed some of the disadvantages of legislation.

Click here to access the presentation.

Barb Byers, Public Education Director, Lifesaving Society / Ted Rankine, PlaySafe Productions – Women as Influencers

Ms. Byers set the stage for the presentation by noting that, while boating fatalities in Ontario and Quebec have decreased considerably, of those that did drown, 80% were not wearing a lifejacket. Lifejacket wear continues to be a challenge. Recognizing the influential role that women play in the lives of partners and families, three organizations (the CSBC/National SAR Secretariat, the Lifesaving Society and Pattison Outdoor Advertising) partnered to produce the campaign “Women as the Influencer.” Research through focus groups revealed that, while men believe accidents only happen to ‘the other guy,’ women worry about the potential for the unexpected to befall her loved ones. These facts (drowning statistics, the new inflatable lifejackets, etc.) were shared with women, along with several advertising concepts intended to help them influence their partners to wear a lifejacket when boating. The poster concept ultimately chosen appealed to both women and men, and was designed to bring visitors to the Smartboater.ca web site to learn more. Mr. Rankine concluded the presentation with a review of the new section of the Smartboater.ca site oriented to women and providing family-focused tips and information to promote safe boating.

Click to access the presentation.

Dr. Philip Groff, Vice-President of Programs, Parachute – Keynote Address: The Challenge of Changing Boaters’ Behaviour

Dr. Groff’s presentation addressed the psychology of risky behaviour among boaters. He suggested that strategies to change behaviour must not be limited to boaters only, but must include policy makers and vessel designers/engineers as well. As in all efforts to stimulate change, the key is to convince individuals that: 1) there is a problem, 2) that it’s their problem, 3) that there’s a solution, and 4) that they can personally implement it. He identified an important distinction between health education and social marketing whereas health education is framed from the perspective of “if only they knew more about this…” social marketing considers “if only we knew more about them…” Dr. Groff believes that imposing rules does not seem to work; rather, pointing out the benefits of ‘safer’ behaviour proves more successful. His message to the safe boating community was, “get to know the audience you are trying to reach, and develop and deliver your message with that in mind.”

Click here to access the presentation.

Ted Rankine, PlaySafe Productions/Ian Gilson, Canadian Safe Boating Council – Beyond Cold Water Boot Camp Experience

An abbreviated version of the all-day Beyond Cold Water Boot Camp held two days earlier was hosted by Messrs. Rankine and Gilson on the wharf beside the Grace and Speed boat museum. They were assisted by members of the Canadian Rangers and others, who demonstrated the important and unique techniques of removing an individual found in cold water and who may be suffering from hypothermia.

Karen Harrington, Sergeant Marine Programs Coordinator, Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) – On-Water Demonstration

Also from the vantage point of the wharf, Sergeant Harrington provided delegates with an overview of the services offered by the OPP’s marine unit. Assisted by personnel on the water, she showcased the capabilities of three of the specialized vessel types in the OPP’s fleet.

Day Two: Tuesday, September 25

Howard Glenn, General Manager, Office of Boating Safety and Maritime Affairs, New South Wales,

Australia – Boating Safety Perspectives from Australia


Mr. Glenn opened with a snapshot of boating in Australia, and the state of New South Wales (NSW) in particular. Some five million people go boating each year, and most of that occurs in NSW. Boating fatalities in his state are fluctuating from year to year (although the long-term trend appears to be downward), but almost all deaths invariably occur while the victim was not wearing a lifejacket. NSW has a complicated web of rules governing if and when lifejackets are to be worn; Mr. Glenn suggests this has generally contributed to a higher percentage of wear simply because boaters don’t want to risk being fined.

To identify and discuss ways to improve lifejacket wear to continue the downward trend, the Australian Recreational Boating Advisory Committee was established. They have created a website devoted to the subject of lifejackets, and carried out awareness campaigns on television and YouTube. They conduct some 50,000 on-water safety checks of vessels annually, carry out random breathalyzer tests, administer a lifejacket loaner/gift program, and more. One of their current proposals is to establish a system of exchangeable inflatable lifejackets; this type of gear is more appealing to the average boater, although it requires occasional servicing to remain effective.

Click here to access the presentation.

Peter Chennell, Marine Safety Operations Manager, Royal National Lifeboat Institution, United Kingdom – Boating Safety Perspectives from the United Kingdom

Mr. Chennell noted for the delegates that the United Kingdom (UK) has an unregulated legal environment, with no licences, no training and no legal obligation to provide lifesaving service to the leisure boating public. As such, the responsibility for this activity falls to volunteer organizations, with limited revenue-generating capacity. The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has discovered a variety of ways over the years in which to change boater behaviour – from the benign authority demonstrated by its safety officers when they conduct face-to-face vessel safety checks and provide helpful advice, to the operator to Sea Safety Roadshow lifeboat stations found at many of the UK’s popular beaches. However, while they have seen positive change among the boating community, the value of the RNLI’s contribution to that change is difficult to quantify; and, with no tangible way to measure its role in improving boating safety, the Institute finds it challenging to secure needed funding. They are now taking the challenging step of streamlining operations and investing these savings in the Water Incident Database, which will provide vital analysis of incidents and inform the RNLI’s future boating safety strategy. As another important element of their efforts to understand their target market, the RNLI is looking at boaters from the perspective of group association (or “tribes”) and life stage profiles.

Click here to access the presentation.

CSBC Annual General Meeting and Recognition Awards Reception

The CSBC took advantage of the presence of most Council members to hold the annual general meeting over the Symposium lunch break. Jean Murray, Chair of CSBC provided a report on achievements of the last year. She stressed that two overriding priorities for the Council are to get the organization on a sound and sustainable financial footing and to continue progress on CSBC efforts to become an “organization of organizations”, working with an increasing number of partner organizations.

Several merit awards were also presented to deserving members to publicly recognize their significant contributions to the CSBC’s boating safety education efforts over the past year.

Certificates of Merit were awarded to: Cate Barratt; for revitalizing the Council’s quarterly newsletter; Barb Byers for her excellent contribution to the Women as Influencers campaign; Robert Dupel for his commitment to advancing the Council’s top priority initiative: Action Priority One; Dale Miller for skillfully managing and penning an organizer’s guide to two Cold Water Workshops in British Columbia this year; Ted Rankine for his significant role in the Women as Influencers campaign; Cam Taylor for his strategic planning efforts and leadership on the Board of Directors; and the York Regional Police Marine Unit for its consistent contribution to the Council’s boating safety initiatives.

Milestone Awards were presented to: Sandy Currie and Norm Dyck, for outstanding volunteer contributions as CSBC Directors from 2004 to 2012 and Karen Harrington, for outstanding volunteer contributions as a CSBC Director from 2007 to 2012.

Alistair Thomson, Maritime Safety Inspector (Recreational and Small Craft), Maritime New Zealand – Boating Safety New Zealand

Mr. Thomson covered the unique environmental conditions facing the recreational boater in New Zealand. The country has a multi-jurisdictional environment, with 17 regional councils, and no vessel or operator licensing or registration requirements in place. Maritime New Zealand’s target demographic is male, 30-65 years of age, enjoys fishing, and operates a vessel 4-6 metres in length; focus groups were asked why this demographic tends not to wear a lifejacket. The answers were remarkably revealing about the boater’s perception of a lifejacket’s effect on the sense of freedom, vitality, and conviviality that boating brings. In other words, lack of knowledge among boaters does not appear to be an issue; rather, their emotional needs and perception of risk are the problem. Their qualitative research resulted in an award-winning advertising campaign that depicts a clown as the stubborn passenger that refuses to wear a lifejacket. Mr. Thomson concluded with reflections on targeted efforts with boaters from the Polynesian community. He noted that this population, while accustomed to boating activities in their homeland, required education efforts to raise their awareness of risks particular to New Zealand.

Click here to access the presentation.

Panel Discussion – Scanning the Horizon: Trends Influencing Boats, Boaters, and Boating of the Future, moderated by Cathy Sandiford, Canadian Safe Boating Council

-       Ann MacDiarmid, Founding Member of Safe Quiet Lakes, Muskoka

-       Sara Anghel, Executive Director/Vice-President, Government Relations, National Marine Manufacturers Association - Canada

-       Raymond Zee, President, Ontario Chinese Anglers Association

-       Peter Garapick, Superintendent, Marine Communications and Traffic Services, Central and Arctic Region, Canadian Coast Guard


Ms. Sandiford set the stage for the panel discussion with an overview of demographic shifts in Canada. She highlighted population growth scenarios, the significance of aging population in many parts of Canada and the growing relevance of immigration and migration.

Click here to access the presentation.

Ms. MacDiarmid provided a local example of trends and their impacts. She described the Muskoka Lakes region, its proximity to Canada’s largest urban centre, the trending growth in boating activity locally, and the combined effect these and other factors have on residents. Cottagers, permanent residents and visitors alike value the treasure of the Muskoka Lakes, but increasingly enjoyment of the lakes is negatively affected by boaters unaware of the impact of their behaviour on others and the environment. The grassroots organization of which she is a founding member aims to change the behaviour of these boaters through the simple medium of promoting respect for others and the power of a friendly conversation, leading to greater awareness.

Click here to access the presentation.

Ms. Anghel presented nation-wide data on recreational boating in Canada including the most popular boat types used by boaters, an overview of sales trends, research on intentions to purchase a boat and participation rates from the perspective of ages of boaters.  She shared interesting insights on the possible impact of owner-to-owner used boat sales on boating safety. She also talked about the changing demographics of Canadians and Americans and why we have to consider this significant change when looking at boating safety and marketing.  Ms. Anghel suggested that a question the boating community should consider is the possibility of introducing on-water training as part of boater education.

Click here to access the presentation.

Mr. Zee, in his organizational role and as a long-term sport fisherman, reaches out to new and experienced anglers in the Chinese community, promoting safety considerations as pivotal to enjoyment of the sport. He noted the significant growth in the number of Association members that participate in the sport of fishing, but that the lack of formal links between the Association and regulators means that important changes in the rules governing boating and boating safety often fail to reach this important community. This challenge is made all the greater because what information is available is not in a language the Association’s membership can understand.

Mr. Garapick provided delegates with a snapshot of the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG), its mandate, and how it typically interacts with the recreational boater. With boating activity on the rise, it is often a fellow boater that encounters a vessel in trouble and lends a hand; increasingly, the CCG is called on to intervene in critical situations only. More boaters appear to be wearing their lifejacket, although older boaters tend to persist in bad habits. Fortunately, the use of new technologies, particularly such as smartphones, with Global Positioning Systems and other valuable applications means a vessel in trouble can be tracked more quickly. Climate change means new and growing challenges in the Arctic – both for boaters and rescuers. For its part, the CCG is looking at new approaches to communicating to keep up with technology, e.g. Tweet the weather or Notices to Ships. A private sector response industry also appears to be emerging, which could be compared to a marine version of Canadian Automobile Association coverage for boaters in trouble.

Click here to access the presentation.

Cathy Sandiford and John Gullick concluded the panel discussion by inviting delegates to identify the opportunities, strategies, and possible research areas that the discussions had revealed. This resulted in the following:


-       Share data with one another (one example cited was to share the Will it Float study with the National Marine Manufacturers Association - Canada)

-       Hands-on boating; build on existing training

-       Translate updates, new regulations to new ethnic communities, including First Nations

-       Involve insurance community; reflect good boating behaviour and training in rates


-       Build on existing training (we now have 3.5 million boaters with a baseline knowledge; there is an opportunity to build on that)

-       Get dealers more involved and engaged (e.g., instructors on staff at dealers)

-       Need help from regulators to enable trainers to get into boats and train on the water

-       Work with First Nations elders and chiefs to train the trainer, building boating safety education capacity in the North


-       Measure effectiveness of what we do

-       Need to update 2002 lifejacket wear rate study (national); all the study design and research tools are available, which would make the update cost effective

-       Research the needs of small commercial vessels


John Gullick wrapped up the Symposium by thanking delegates and speakers for their participation in the activities of the past two days, and for the thought-provoking questions and ideas they brought to the table. He thanked Symposium sponsors for their gracious contributions to the Symposium’s success. He also acknowledged the important support of local and national media representatives, who, through their coverage of the Symposium and the Cold Water Boot Camp, serve an invaluable role in getting the word out on boating safety.

He thanked the staff of Grace and Speed, the Muskoka Boat and Heritage Centre as well as the staff of the Marriott Residence Hotel for taking such good care of Symposium delegates. With a reminder of the night’s festivities on the historic HMS Segwun, John closed by inviting delegates to mark down the venue and dates for next year’s symposium.

Whistler, B.C, Sept.23-25, 2013 Hilton Whistler Resort and Spa




Appendix 1: Symposium Agenda

Pre-Symposium: Saturday, September 22

0900 – 1700 All-day Beyond Cold Water Boot Camp (for Coast Guard Auxiliary & First Responders held off-site)

– Hosted by Ted Rankine and led by Dr. Gordon Giesbrecht

Sunday, September 23

1830 – 2030 Welcome Reception and Symposium Opening

-       Master of Ceremonies John Gullick

-       Welcome by Jean Murray, Chair, CSBC and local dignitaries.

Monday, September 24

0800 – 0830 Breakfast, Welcome and Housekeeping

0830 – 0845 Real Life Boating Safety Story #1

0845 – 0915 Update from Transport Canada

0915 – 1015 Update from United States

– Jeff Hoedt, Chief, Office of Boating Safety, United States Coast Guard

1030 – 1100 Defining and Classifying Boating Safety Situations

– Bill Jennings, Past Director, Muskoka Lakes Association and boating safety educator

1100 – 1130 Women as Influencers

– Barb Byers, Public Education Director, Lifesaving Society

– Ted Rankine, PlaySafe Productions

11:30 – 1200 Keynote Address: The Challenge of Changing Boaters’ Behaviour

– Dr. Philip Groff, Vice President, Programs, Parachute

1200 – 1330 Lunch and visit to Heritage Museum

1330 – 1530 On-water Experience

– Beyond Cold Water Boot Camp experience, Ted Rankine / Ian Gilson

1530 – 1700 On-water Experience

– Ontario Provincial Police, Karen Harrington

Tuesday, September 25

0900 – 0915 Real Life Boating Safety Story #2

0915 – 1015 Boating Safety Perspectives from Australia

-       Howard Glenn, General Manager, Office of Boating Safety & Maritime Affairs,                    New South Wales, Australia

1030 – 1130 Boating Safety Perspectives from the United Kingdom

-       Peter Chennell, Marine Safety Operations Manager, Royal National Lifeboat Institution,    United Kingdom

1130 – 1145 Real Life Boating Safety Story #3

1145 – 1315 Lunch and CSBC Annual General Meeting and Recognition Awards Reception

1315 – 1415 Boating Safety in New Zealand

-       Alistair Thomson, Maritime Safety Inspector (Recreational and Small Craft),                 Maritime New Zealand

1430 – 1600 Scanning the Horizon: Trends Influencing Boaters, Boats and Boating of the Future:

Panel discussion on demographic, socio-economic and technology trends and what they mean for education strategies and research needs, moderated by Cathy Sandiford, Canadian Safe Boating Council

-       Ann MacDiarmid, Founding Member of Safe Quiet Lakes, Muskoka

-       Sara Anghel, Executive Director/Vice President Government Relations, National Marine Manufacturers Association – Canada

-       Raymond Zee, President, Ontario Chinese Anglers Association

-       Peter Garapick, Superintendent, Marine Communications &Traffic Services, Canadian Coast Guard, Central & Arctic Region

1800 – 2200 Banquet cruise on RMS Segwun, North America's oldest operating steamship.






Appendix 2: Overview of Delegates





Canadian Coast Guard


Canadian Ranger Patrol Group


Transport Canada


Transportation Safety Board of Canada


US Coast Guard



Australia - Office of Boating Safety & Maritime Affairs


New Zealand - Maritime New Zealand


UK - Royal National Lifeboat Institution



Muskoka Lakes Association


North South Nautical Group


Safe Quiet Boating - Muskoka



Association Maritime du Québec


Boating Ontario


Canadian Cadets


Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary


Canadian Power & Sail


Canadian Red Cross Society


Canadian Safe Boating Council


Council of BC Yacht Clubs


Lifesaving Society


National Marine Manufacturers Association -Canada


Paddle Canada







BOATsmart! Canada


Mustang Survival


PlaySafe Productions


PowerBoat Canada




Uncharted Waters Consulting


Virtual Marine Technology



Appendix 3: Presenter Bios

Sara Anghel, National Marine Manufacturers Association

Sara Anghel has a breadth of experience in government, the private sector and associations spanning 15 years. Prior to joining the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) - Canada, she served as vice president of government relations and public affairs with the Ontario Energy Association. Before that, Sara was Manager of Government and Regulatory Affairs with Direct Energy and prior to that spent seven years with the Ontario government across a number of ministries. In her role with NMMA Canada, Sara leads industry representation and advocacy efforts by providing counsel, support and strategic input to a range of policy and advocacy issues. She is instrumental in advancing advocacy strategies primarily focused at the federal level. Sara serves on Transport Canada’s National Recreational Boating Advisory Council and co-chairs the Recreational Boating Advisory Council for Ontario. Sara holds an Honours Degree in Political Science and Philosophy from the University of Toronto. She enjoys boating and traveling with her husband Frank and their young daughter Angelica.

Barbara Byers, Lifesaving Society

Barbara is the Public Education Director and Research Director at the Lifesaving Society, where she has worked 20 years. She is responsible for leading the collection, analysis and dissemination of water incident research in Canada. This scientific evidence-based data is used to guide the development of drowning prevention initiatives. Barbara is responsible for developing the strategic and executional components for the Lifesaving Society’s annual Water Smart campaign, directed at changing the behaviour of Canadians to prevent drowning and water-related injuries. Prior her position with the Lifesaving Society, Barbara held marketing/advertising positions with Warner Lambert and the Leo Burnett advertising agency. Barbara is a Past Chair of the Canadian Safe Boating Council and the current chair of the Personal Flotation Device Task Force and the Educational Programs Committee. She is a member of the International Lifesaving Federation’s Child Drowning Committee, a past member of the International Lifesaving Society Drowning Report committee and one of the principal authors of the 2007 World Drowning Report. Barbara is a board member of the National Water Safety Congress, the mission of which is to advance the promotion of education for the safety of recreational water activities in the United States.

Peter Chennell, Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), United Kingdom

Since Peter Chennell joined the RNLI in 1995, he has been coordinating and steering its preventative activities, particularly amongst the leisure boating community. He is a member of the National Water Safety Forum, and chairs its Sea Advisory Group, which consists of representatives of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Royal Yachting Association, British Marine Federation, UK Harbourmasters Association, and the British Canoe Union. He is a founding member of the Maritime Casualty Review Panel. Mr. Chennell has recently taken on responsibility for the RNLI’s Commercial Fishing safety activities, and is a member of the Fishing Industries Safety Group. A key element of his focus is on lifejacket wear amongst the leisure boating community, and working with authorities on survival at sea.

First taking the helm of a boat at the age of five, Peter is now an enthusiastic sailor, spending as much leisure time as possible with his wife on board their boat, which is kept in France. He has also written a book on Passage Planning.


Peter Garapick, Canadian Coast Guard

Peter Garapick has been a member of the Canadian Coast Guard for over 20 years. While still a student obtaining his Master's in Business Administration, Peter was a crew member aboard the tall ship Bluenose II that sailed to and from Halifax and Vancouver via the Panama Canal. He began his career with the Canadian Coast Guard as a Coxswain in the Inshore Rescue Boat Search and Rescue (SAR) Program in Nova Scotia. Since that time, Peter has worked with or managed programs in SAR, Environmental Response, Boating Safety, and Aids to Navigation. Currently, he is the Regional Superintendent of Marine Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS), known to boaters as Coast Guard Radio. As a past Director of the CSBC and a boater (mainly sailor) himself, he continues to have his eye on the safety aspects of the recreational boating community and was delighted to be invited to participate in the boating trends panel. Peter lives in a rural setting near Lake Erie in southwest Ontario with his wife and two teenage daughters.

Howard Glenn, Office of Boating Safety and Maritime Affairs, New South Wales

Howard Glenn is General Manager of the Office of Boating Safety & Maritime Affairs in the State of New South Wales, and chairs the Australian Recreational Boating Safety Committee. He has responsibility for boating safety, maritime property and infrastructure across NSW, and has been a key player in designing the new national safety regulatory system for commercial vessels. Working in various roles in maritime affairs for the last four years, he has also worked as a senior executive for national and state governments and in the non-government sector, on road transport, human rights, immigration policy and indigenous affairs.

Dr. Philip Groff, Parachute

As Vice-President of Programs, Phil is a key spokesperson for the organization. He sets the research agenda for Parachute, while also leading an in-depth evaluation and analysis of all of Parachute’s programs and services. Phil has wide-ranging expertise in research and evaluation, social marketing and a deep knowledge of injury prevention. Phil has a PhD in psychology from the University of Toronto with a specialty in human neuropsychology and cognition and is also a credentialed evaluator, in good standing with the Canadian Evaluation Society.

Karen Harrington, Ontario Provincial Police

Karen Harrington joined the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) in November 1987 and was posted to Orillia Detachment. While stationed there as a frontline Constable, she completed a variety of investigations and additional assignments including Community Services Officer, Municipal Liaison Officer and Scenes of Crime Officer. In Orillia, she was introduced to marine policing and in 1992 commenced marine duties assignments as a qualified marine officer responsible for patrols, enforcement, SAR and building community partnerships - particularly promoting boating safety.

In May 2000, Karen was promoted to Sergeant and served as a recruiter, affording a schedule amenable to the raising of two children, Lisa and Erin, with her husband Brian. In 2006, an opportunity pulled Karen back into the boat and to her passion for marine policing. As the Provincial Marine Program Coordinator for the OPP, Karen oversees multiple projects and acts as an advisor to management. While she is very proud of the role the OPP plays in marine policing, Karen is dedicated to advancing efforts to reduce boating tragedies and promoting boating safety for the benefit of all who ply the waters.


Jeff Hoedt, United States Coast Guard

Jeff Hoedt joined the USCG’s Boating Safety Division in 2002, and was named Chief of the division in 2007. He provides guidance and leadership to develop, coordinate, and implement the National Recreational Boating Safety (RBS) Program and oversee the Coast Guard’s efforts to reduce fatalities, injuries, and property losses in recreational boating in the United States. His professional boating career started in 1979 as a Watercraft Officer for the State of Ohio, then as the Boating Law Administrator for the State of Idaho for eight years, serving as the Assistant Chief of the State Affairs Branch at Coast Guard Headquarters for three years, and serving as the Boating Law Administrator for the State of Ohio for seven years.

Bill Jennings, Power Boating Academy

Bill Jennings has an extensive association with the marine industry, complementing a successful business career outside the industry where he held senior management positions, including district manager with General Motors, area manager with Lotus, marketing director with Suzuki and a vice president with Leo Burnett.

He is currently president of the Power Boating Academy. Previously he owned Safe Boater, Inc. providing courses, testing and Pleasure Craft Operator Cards to over 100,000 boaters. He is an instructor and master certifier with US Power Squadrons, a vessel safety check officer and a captain with the Marine Emergency Response Team. Bill raced powerboats for six years, culminating in a World Championship and induction into the Performance Boating Hall of Fame. He is Canadian Boating Federation (CBF) certified referee, founded three CBF racing divisions, and has driven and tested boats all over the world. He is an editorial director with a national boating magazine and written extensively for several national magazines. He is a pilot currently flying SAR for the USCG. Bill organized a highly a successful international powerboat race in 1986. He owned Orca Marine, Inc. manufacturing Orca Wide Body boats and developed through University of Michigan a safer hull aerodynamics for tunnel boats. He is the recipient of a CSBC volunteer award.

Ann MacDiarmid, Safe Quiet Lakes

Ann is a marketing and communication professional who operates her own marketing and communications company – Raptor Communications. She has held senior management roles in both the private and public sectors in Canada and the United States. Ann led Canada’s Capital bid for Expo 2005 as CEO of that organization, and has been a board member of the bids for Expo 2005 in Calgary and the Winter 2010 Olympics. Ann has served on other boards, including UNICEF Canada, the Offord Centre for Child Studies and many volunteer community-based initiatives. Ann cares about lakes and safety. She was a founding member of Safe Quiet Lakes as a 60-year plus cottager in Muskoka. She is President of the Little Lake Joseph Association and is active throughout the Muskoka community.  Fluently bilingual, Anne is an adventuresome athlete, enjoying skiing, golf, sky diving and her cottage. She has two adult children.


John Murray, Transport Canada

John Murray has been Manager of the Office of Boating Safety with Transport Canada since 2006. He spent close to 20 years at sea – much of that time working on Search and Rescue and icebreaking vessels for the Canadian Coast Guard. Mr. Murray holds a certificate of competency as a Master Mariner. He has taught navigation and Marine Emergency Duties in both St. Andrews and Caraquet, New Brunswick. He enjoys sailing and canoeing, and is the proud owner of a 16-foot Chestnut canoe.

Ted Rankine, PlaySafe Productions

Ted is a media and business professional with extensive experience in recreational boating, aviation, broadcast television, marine media, safety communication and social marketing. After founding and hosting/producing PowerBoat / Le monde nautique television shows, and publishing Boats and Places Magazine for almost 20 years, he turned his focus exclusively to safety communication. He has created and produced dozens of boating safety programs over the years, including Cold Water Boot Camp, Beyond Cold Water Boot Camp, Weather to Boat, Smartboater.ca, Saved by the Jacket, and the National Safe Boating Tests. Ted’s company, PlaySafe Productions Corporation, in addition to marine safety activities, also works with the aviation community. Ted is active with many boating safety organizations – the Canadian Safe Boating Council (director for 12 years and past Chair), National Water Safety Congress (past director), past Chair of several Safe Boating Awareness Week campaigns, past Rear Commander with the United States Power Squadrons. Ted founded and served as Chair of the Canadian Safe Boating Awards (CASBAs) from 1998 to 2002.

Alistair Thomson, Maritime New Zealand

Al Thomson is a member of the Maritime New Zealand recreational boating team, based in Auckland. His time is predominantly dedicated to recreational boating safety promotion and the operational delivery of the New Zealand Pleasure Boating Strategy. Mr. Thomson is a keen recreational boater and fisherman and holds both recreational and commercial boating qualifications. He works closely with partner organizations of the New Zealand National Pleasure Boat Safety Forum, developing programs and interventions that seek to reduce boat drownings and accidents.

Raymond Zee, Ontario Chinese Anglers Association

Raymond was born in Kowloon, Hong Kong and came to Canada in 1973. He studied at Sir Sanford Fleming College in Peterborough, Ontario, earning a Diploma in Electrical Engineering and Electronic Engineering. He has lived in Toronto since 1979, working for Compucom Canada (Wang Canada) for 30 years in Computer Field Service and Technical Support.

Raymond has a deep association with the Ontario Chinese Anglers Association, which promotes fun sport fishing, conservation, safe boating and environmentally friendly concepts within the Chinese community. Raymond co-founded the organization in 1999 and, since 2002, has served as Chairman of its Board of Directors. Raymond is involved in many other boating-related associations. Since 1992, he has been a member of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters and Canadian Power and Sail, where he is an instructor. He is also an examiner for the Pleasure Craft Operator Card in Chinese. With the provincial Ministry of Natural Resources, he helps the Chinese community to understand provincial fishing regulations. Beyond his boating safety volunteering, he supports youth members and fundraising for the Yee Hong Foundation and Heart and Stroke Foundation, and other associations. He and his wife Renee have two grown children, Stephanie and Ryan.