Apr 11, 2017
As we enter our 54th year of operation, Building Character Through Adventure, Toronto Brigantine has been facing stiff headwinds in a challenging regulatory and competitive program environment with the resultant financial burdens.
First and foremost, for several years we have been unable to adequately fill the boats with trainees, despite modifications to the program to make it easier to interact with busier schedules, and introducing new elements such as our microplastics environmental initiatives. We have also increased our media presence via TV appearances on Rogers and Breakfast Television and social media advertising campaigns. Unfortunately, we have been unable to attract significant numbers of new trainees to the program. Again this year we are trending to approximately a 50% fill rate.
I find it hard to believe, as I hope you do, that our program has lost its relevance in today’s world; that our program of leadership, seafaring and personal development do not resonate as they once did through our unique experience and its life changing benefits.
The factors at play have resulted in an adverse financial position that is no longer sustainable. Loss of members and donations to the organization has had a severe impact to our overall revenue. Careful management and costs controls have been effective in limiting the impact, but we continue to experience increases in regulatory costs on annual basis.
The past year and this upcoming season we have been fortunate to have been involved with two significant tall ship events. The revenue from these events has kept TBI afloat in the short term. Looking to 2018, we will not have these events and funds to count on. If we are unable to change our course, our expenses will become unmanageable. Next year we anticipate that our most significant costs will be:
• Mortgage debt servicing that continues from our restructuring in early 2000 will be 30% of revenue
• Regulatory and five year inspection costs will rise to 25% of revenue
• Vessel and daily operations costs will be 90% of revenue
The board and I have been continuously working to reverse this trend. At this juncture, we will be bringing a motion to the membership to allow us to move forward with the sale of Pathfinder. It is our ardent hope that we will not need to move down this path but we need to be prepared.
To this end we are introducing the Save Pathfinder! campaign between now and June 30th. We are looking to you, our Alumni and supporters to help save TBI, through your donations, volunteering and promotion of the program.
Above all, I look to you to join us at the Annual General Meeting:
Wednesday April 19, 2017 at 7:00 pm.
The meeting will be held at:
The Mission to Seafarer’s
8 Unwin Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M5A 1A1
We hope the boating community will demonstrate through your involvement and voice that TBI still relevant today and for future generations.