June 28, 2018

8th AnniversaryOoh what a decade! In1986 Midland Squadron elected its first 'lady commander' as the rest of our organization watched with much interest and considerable wariness. At the time some members opinions expressed in several of the back issues of the Porthole would today be considered as incredulous. Needless to say any concerns and fears about a woman being at a squadron’s helm were quickly dispelled. Doubtless, very few of those early letter writer’s would have thought just ten years later our organization’s Chief Commander would be a woman! Many kudos to Past Chief Doreen Hinksman.

In 1990 with the formation of squadrons in Saskatchewan and Newfoundland Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons/Les Escadrilles canadiennes de plaisance (CPS-ECP) became a truly national corporation with squadrons from coast to coast in every province. Importantly, by having squadrons coast to coast made CPS-ECOP unique – it allowed us to teach and examine nationally recognized boat course material to all Canadian boaters. This was an advantageous and enviable position for CPS-ECP to be in.

The 1990's also saw the decline of sextant navigation and the rise of the "electronic (read digital) bridge", when Global Positioning Systems (GPS) became increasingly available to recreational boaters - Loran had been the previous system – it quickly replaced that aging technology.

Also in the 1990’s the controversial Boat Pro course was developed in response to the new governmental licensing requirements. For the first time, squadron instructors had to deal with students who were less than eager, as their attendance was not out of desire to learn but rather to simply and as quickly as possible obtain the “magic” card.
Unfortunately, as time passed this attitudinal change would become increasingly apparent.

Reading through back issues of Port Hole magazine provides one with a curious sense of déjà vu. Several prevalent themes (Plus les choses changent, plus ellesrestent les memes.) between now and then seems to be reoccurring. For example, one Chief Commander after another would remark in their Message From The Bridge comments or their Governing Board reports about the need to make membership a high priority for every squadron and how recruiting volunteers was very important. One Past Chief Commander wrote about an exchange between a squadron bridge officer and new Boating Course student. The squadron officer asked the student, “Can you volunteer?” The student replied smartly, “Don’t know, haven’t done it yet, no one has asked me.”

Repeatedly, through Port Hole’s back issues there are letters from squadrons, Districts and National Officers about the need for Bridge Officers, course instructors and volunteers. One letter writer commented on how as a squadron officer he had moved all of his squadron’s records and correspondence onto his personal home computer – a Commodore 64, and how he was personally willing to take an hour to train other squadron officers to do the same.

In those archived editions, there much about communication, especially the need for more of it and for said communication to be more effective. Some things never seem to change. As for non-written communication the real emphasis was for more squadron members to proudly and correctly “fly the flag.”

Much was mentioned about how educational methods and techniques were changing and how CPS-ECP needed to make similar changes to promote those new educational methods and attract those who the squadrons want to teach. Remarkably these comments were written nearly twenty years ago.

Very specifically, one Past Squadron Commander implored for new boating courses and educational methods “to meet the demands of new students who are buying equipment which wasn’t even heard of 15 years earlier.” Imagine how impressed that writer would be with today’s Digital Selective Calling or the latest electronic marine navigation systems.

Two final paragraphs about the last decade of last century; first, how many of the following can you answer?

1. In What year was the CPS Foundation formed?
2. Who was our first Chief Commander?
3. Who was the first Chief Commander from “la belle province?”
4. What was our original Boating Course called?
5. What are the requirements to become a life member?

Then second, the following is a quote taken from 1995: “Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons is a nationwide association of boating enthusiasts, dedicated to improving boating safety through training. What other Canadian organization offers its members so much for such a small membership fee?”

Donald Macintosh

National Administrative Officer

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