Feb 8, 2018
Looking south across the Detroit River three intrepid Canadian boat owners from the newly formed Windsor Yacht Club after much discussion decided they should travel across the border to the United States of America. The intrepid three’s – Mssrs Fred Dane, George Ruel and G. William Bowman, decision was specifically to enroll in the Junior Piloting Course being offered at the Detroit Yacht Club by the Detroit Power Squadron.
At the time perhaps it was prophetic such a course was not available in Windsor. Somewhat amazingly the Detroit Power Squadron had been founded and chartered more than two decades earlier in 1916 as a unit of the United States Power Squadrons®, the world’s largest boating educational organization.
No doubt with their copies of Charles Chapman’s quintessential book Piloting Seamanship and Small Boat Handling tucked under their arms the intrepid three graduated. Chapman’s book was first published in 1922 and with revisions and new editions the book remains as the most authoritative and comprehensive work in its field.
Graduating from the junior piloting course the intrepid three quickly grasped the idea to launch a similar educational organization in Canada for Canadian boaters. In the spring of 1938 the intrepid three with other local boaters organized the first Canadian Power Squadron in Windsor, Ontario.The Windsor Power Squadron hosted its first boating course at the Windsor Yacht Club in that same year.
Not quite eighteen months later in the Fall of 1939 after the Windsor Power Squadron had been formed Canada entered World War II. Appreciably due to gas rationing and support for home front activities boating was in Canada was indeed limited. Two years later on October 14, 1941 at a meeting in Chatham to form the Canadian Power Squadron.
The Sarnia Yacht Club formed a second squadron in 1948 followed quickly by more squadrons such as London, Toronto and Port Credit just to name a few.