altBy definition, an alien species is a plant or animal occurring in an area outside of its known natural habitat as a result of accidental or intentional introduction by human activities. An alien species is considered invasive if its introduction and spread causes harm to the environment, society or economy.

Throughout history human activities including settlement and trade have caused the introduction of aquatic invasive species (AIS) quite often to the detriment of native ecosystems. Over 200 non-native species of plant and aquatic life have become established in the Great Lakes; this number grows annually.

alt“If you work hard at keeping your marina clean, green and safe, your boaters will too. There is absolutely nothing to match the effect of leading by example” according to Hub Steenbakkers, the proprietor of Collins Bay Marina in Kingston, Ontario. “It is more than setting or enforcing rules, it is all about educating boaters in the critical role they play in maintaining the environment and setting expectations that become the social norm for behaviour.”

At Collins Bay Marina, caring for the environment is an essential part of their business.

altIn many sectors there’s a developing interest in all things environmental and the boating community is no exception. Boaters are taking more of an interest to what is happening in their cruising areas – and in “Beautiful British Columbia” there is much current interest.

High on the list is the new pollution prevention regulation under the Canada Shipping Act. The regulation caused a serious uproar before it was made into law, as it seemed to be drafted with big ships in mind rather than small vessels – and because the bureaucrats in Ottawa appeared to have ignored some major recommendations of the west coast work group.

altAnyone who has ever sailed the waters of Georgian Bay is familiar with the iconic trees that line the shore and dot the islands. Sculpted by the prevailing west winds, they stand arched and graceful yet still solid and defiant and in their struggle with the harsh climate and sparse soil scattered amidst the prehistoric granite of the Canadian Shield.

The Georgian Bay Land Trust (GBLT) was founded in 1997 to help preserve not only the famed trees of Georgian Bay but also the entire ecology of the unique archipelago that makes up the Eastern Channel and North Shore.

altThere are winners and there are losers and sometimes there’s just mud. Which to an environmentalist might be okay, if it means healthy wetlands, but to a boater mud spells disaster.

Welcome to the contentious Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River water levels issue that the International Joint Commission (IJC) is tackling. At first glance it seems, well…clear as mud. The commission is trying to balance the interests of municipal water supplies, hydro-electric power generation, environmentalists, commercial navigation, recreational boating and riparian (waterfront property owners) concerns.

altZebra muscles, lampreys, fertilizer runoff, chemicals, low water levels. The list of challenges facing the Great Lakes is a long and worrisome one. Many thousands of people depend on the health of the lakes for their livelihood and many millions are directly affected by their condition. Now the Great Lakes may be on the verge of playing host to some new and unwelcome guests. The Asian Carp are on the move and a lot of people are very worried indeed. Although the carp’s jumping antics have made it a You Tube star, it is their voracious appetite and efficient breeding that have many environmentalists, fishermen and recreational industry experts fearing the worst. That the Asian Carp represent a threat to the lakes is not in dispute, but just how much of a threat and what to do about it, is hotly contested.

altLots of Stakeholders in Lake Water Levels

In recent years low water levels on the Great Lakes have boaters and waterfront property owners looking for answers. North America’s Great Lakes hold about 18% of all the surface fresh water on earth and the Great Lakes Basin is home to some 40 million people. From these facts you can be certain of two things: 1) What happens to the lakes is incredibly important and 2) figuring out exactly what is happening to them is incredibly complicated. The 774,000 square kilometers of the Great Lakes Basin includes parts of eight US states and Canada’s largest province, ensuring that lots of different governments, agencies, and interest groups, all want to have their say.

altWhen it comes to matters of our environment, it is action not rhetoric that makes the difference.

Going green, protecting and or improving the environment, reducing emissions, greenhouse gas…how many times have you heard or read these words in the past year or two?

There is plenty of rhetoric in the media but in terms of real action, how are boaters affected by environmental concerns?


The Marina at Blind ChannelOne of my favourite places

By Marianne Scott

Sailing north of Desolation Sound, the Discovery Islands and the Broughton Archipelago offer cruisers a bevy islands with ample anchorages. Tides cause swift currents to run through the islands’ waterways. Few marinas are found in this large, sparsely populated region but one that provides all the services boaters need and especially enjoy is Blind Channel, a marina and resort operated by the Richter family located on Mayne Passage on the east side of West Thurlow Island (50 24. 82N, 125 30. 00).

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Swift Trawler 47By Andy Adams

You might look at the pictures of the new Beneteau Swift Trawler 47 and think that this is not a “performance boat”, but I think it certainly is, and here is why; it can top out at 30 mph to get you from A to B quickly or to beat the weather in, so it’s pretty fast, but it can also loaf along doing 1,250 rpm making 9.3 mph and at that pace, it travels 2.4 miles on a gallon of fuel. That’s great performance in my books!

With a light displacement of almost 28,000 lbs, this is a big boat. In fact, it looks and feels more like a small ship than a big boat.

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Beneteau Oceanis 46.1By Andy Adams and John Armstrong

Beneteau Oceanis 46.1When Beneteau introduced their new Oceanis 46.1, they were inspired by the fact that their previous Oceanis 45 was one of Beneteau’s best sellers and the new 46.1 had to be a clearly superior boat. The Oceanis range is about space and comfort for cruising while still delivering strong performance.

The yachting world has now recognized the Oceanis 46.1 as being just such a worthy successor. On January 19th, 2019, the Oceanis 46.1 won the highly regarded title of European Yacht of the Year in the “Family Cruiser” category.

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Sea to Sky SailingSea to Sky Sailing has just been approved as the only Royal Yachting Association (RYA) recognized training centre on the west coast of North America just in time to deliver an epic 2019 season!

“This transition from our previous International Yacht Training (IYT) certification to RYA is a huge benefit to our students as it provides them certification that is known globally as the gold standard for yacht training.  The RYA requires training centres to undergo annual inspections of their vessels, business practices and training delivery in order to maintain a strong standard and guarantee a high quality experience for students. 

Read More about Sea to Sky Sailing......