Gabriola celebrates 75th anniversary of Canadian Power Squadrons

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Monday, September 30 2013

The Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons/Escadrilles canadiennes de plaisance (CPS-ECP) is turning 75 this year.

The event is being recognized by the Squadrons, such as the Gabriola Island Squadron, by passing a unique flag across the country. This past Saturday, Sept. 28, the flag was on Gabriola with the local Gabriola Island Squadron.

Don Butt, a long time member of the Gabriola Squadron, gave some history saying the Gabriola Island Squadron was formed in 1996.  The “board” of the Squadron is called the Bridge. Don explained at the time, when the Gabriola Squadron was being formed, “you can imagine the horror among some Gabriolans at the prospect of a “bridge” coming to Gabriola.”

All joking aside, Don said the Gabriola squadron has, “instructed over 400 boaters, and wannabe boaters over the years. 

“The work of CPS-ECP is by volunteers, amassing thousands of hours every year nation-wide.”

The mandate of the Canadian Power Squadron is to increase awareness and knowledge of safe boating by educating and training members and the general public, by fostering fellowship among members, and by establishing partnerships and alliances with organizations and agencies interested in boating.

Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons is a non-profit organization that has been connecting boaters for 75 years and continues to play a major role in Canadian boating culture. 

The Flag Tour of 2013 is happening to celebrate the 75 anniversary of the founding of the Canadian Power Squadron.

The organization began in 1938, when three members of the Windsor Yacht Club crossed the Ambassador Bridge into Detroit, Michigan. 

Under the direction of the Detroit Power Squadron, Fred Dane, George Ruel, and G. William Bowman passed the USPS Junior Piloting Course. 

They soon formed the first Squadron in Canada, Windsor Power Squadron, with G.William Bowman as its first Commander. He later became the first Chief Commander of Canadian Power Squadrons.

 Between 1939 and 1946, the organization went into semi-hibernation, chiefly due to the lack of fuel, and involvement in World War II. In spite of this, a nucleus of members under Chief Commander Harry McGladdery worked to secure a Dominion Charter, granted on October 27, 1947. They also designed the CPS-ECP flag, registered June 14, 1948.

Don explained CPS-ECP is now recognized as the largest organization of its kind in the world, per capita. Accepted as the foremost educational boating authority in Canada; a consultant with Canadian Coast Guard; and an advisor of aids to navigation for the Canadian Hydrographic Service, through the MAREP/Marine Reporting Programme.

There are over 26,000 active members nationwide. 

Instructors help recreational boaters improve their boating safety knowledge as well as their vessel handling and navigation skills. Students successfully completing the CPS-ECP Boating Basics or Boating Essentials course can receive a one year complimentary membership with access to member benefits.

Courses and seminars available from CPS-ECP: Boating Basics (Pleasure Craft Operator Card), Boating Essentials, Maritime Radio-ROC(M), Seamanship, Advanced Piloting, Electronic Navigation, RADAR for Pleasurecraft, Navigation, Global Navigation, Weather, Extended Cruising, Boat and Engine Maintenance and more.