Update your email preferences here                          View Masthead Archives
View this email in your browser
Volume XXXIX      Number 9     November 2021
Commander’s Log


Happy November everyone!

We may have had a hot dry summer, but we are certainly anything but dry now!  These torrential rains and shorter days have kept La Fortuna at home, though I am still hoping to have one more foray out before the end of the year.

Traditionally, we have our Christmas potluck in December. Because of all the events missed during the past two years, PMD (Pacific Mainland District) of which VPSS is a member, is hosting a plated, sit-down holiday dinner on Dec 10th  at the Executive Hotel in Coquitlam.  The price is very reasonable (being subsidized by PMD) and the menu looks delicious. During this event, PMD will also have its Change of Watch. Look further in the Masthead for how you can secure your tickets to this event which is sure to be lots of fun and a way to beat the winter doldrums.

For our November meeting, I am very happy to say that we will be back at the FCYC!  I know that some of you will still be cautious about venturing out, so we will also broadcast our speaker via Go-To-Meeting this month. Many of you will be familiar with our speaker, Harold Gordon, a VPSS member and Marine Surveyor. I am sure that many of you, like us, have been asked by our insurance companies to get a current survey of our boat to renew insurance. Or perhaps you are in the market for a new boat?  Bring all your questions to our November Squadron meeting on November 15. Check out the information further in the Masthead.

Peter Bennett will be holding his last Maritime Radio Course via Zoom on Saturday November 20. He informs me that there is still some space, so if you know anyone who still needs to obtain their ROC(M). Though the self-study course is excellent for those who can’t make an all day Saturday course, the completion rate from our ‘classroom’ classes is much higher. 

As of this writing, it looks like we still will not be able to get into any of the Vancouver schools in order to have face to face Boating 1-4  Courses. Any suggestions are very much appreciated. Do you have a knack for teaching others? Or enjoy helping other people achieve a high level of safe boating pleasure?   Whether in-class or online, there is a need for volunteers for education. 

The vision of CPS is:    “A committed community of experienced boaters inspiring others to adopt a safe boating attitude through education and training”.  One of the ways of accomplishing this is to “teach safe boating practices and proper navigational technologies.”  Under our values is included:  “We embrace changes in boating education and practices”, . As proud VPSS members, we should be looking at all ways to fulfil this.

Before signing off for this month, I would like to share this link to quite the super-yacht.  Besides being large, it is touted as eco-friendly.


Elizabeth Zygmunt
Commander, Vancouver Power & Sail Squadron
November Squadron Night
Squadron Vancouver night, Monday November 15th at the False Creek Yacht Club

False Creek Yacht Club (Top floor)
Doors Open at 7:00 pm
Event begins at 7:30 pm
Admission is $5 at the door (WAIVED for this meeting only). 
Cash bar is available for your enjoyment.
Parking at False Creek Yacht Club is limited. There is free parking in designated stalls in the open lot below and street parking is also available.

Marine Surveying – What Could Go Wrong?
Harold J. Gordon, MIIMS, Marine Surveyor

Harold Gordon has been involved in the marine industry for over 40 years; boat building, maintenance, service, support and insurance claims for clients.  He follows the recommendations of ABYC, NMEA, Transport Canada and NFPA and performs volunteer marine safety checks through RCMSARS and the program at RVYC for 15 years. He has been a Marine Surveyor  of small craft for the past 6 years, accredited by the International Institute of Marine Surveyors (IIMS), an association of over 1000 members.

In this open forum presentation, Harold will share insights and offer suggestions  as to what is important for your survey, and how it crosses over to maintenance issues owners sometimes tend to treat as complacent.

It promises to be a very interesting evening.    Make sure you put  Monday November 15th at 7.30 p.m. in your diary and join us EITHER IN PERSON AT THE FCYC or via the GoToMeeting link below.
Upcoming Boating Courses
Education, is something wrong?

Earlier editions of the Masthead have reported that we have just eight people taking the online combined Boating course and also smaller numbers taking Maritime Radio. This is a significant drop from similar course offerings just two sessions ago, Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 where we had sold out courses. So it cannot all be blamed on Covid-19.

Not so many years ago, we were the leader in PMD by not just offering Boating but also Seamanship, Advanced Piloting, Celestial Navigation, Weather, Boat and Engine Maintenance and even Boating Basics, the course leading to the PCOC. What has happened? Likely one reason is the availability of electronic navigation and the accompanying concept that traditional methods are no longer necessary. That could be partially true but Boat and Engine Maintenance needs have not changed nor have Seamanship skills and we still need to understand something about Weather. Or do the many Apps available on our iPhone now mean that we no longer need to read and understand the tide and current tables to safely anchor or to transit Gabriola Pass? I do believe there is still a need for those traditional methods that promote safety on the water.

So why are we not offering these courses? The Covid problem has forced us into a virtual classroom which does modify our teaching methods but is still being managed successfully. The bigger problem I think is a lack of instructors. Our long time Seamanship instructor had to retire due to health issues and our Boat and Engine Maintenance instructor seems to have lost interest in boating altogether. For many years I teamed with Rob Murray teaching Seamanship and Advanced Piloting, usually taking turns on alternate weeks and it seemed to work well and it is still an available option. Yes, something is wrong!

We are nearing the time when we can return to the classroom but the online methods will likely remain where class size is small or participants are spread across the region. In addition to the course material, Powerpoint presentations are available for all courses which you can modify by adding your own pictures and slides so you would be off to a good start.

We need your help so please give me a call and we can discuss the many ways you can contribute. Many thanks for considering this challenge.

Peter Girling

Upcoming Boating Courses

Maritime Radio Operator Course

(Restricted Radiotelephone Operator's Certificate (Maritime))

To ensure that you will receive the course materials before the class, you should register at least two weeks before the class.  Registration will not be accepted on the day of the class.

The fees for all courses are $135 for CPS Members, or $150 for non-members
Saturday, November 20, 2021
This will be a "virtual class", with a three hour lecture on November 20 delivered using Zoom.  Individual exams will be done on-line during the following few days.

Please see

CPS also offers this course in an on-line self-study format - see to register for that program.

Christmas Party & Change of Watch!

Pacific Mainland District Dec 10, 2021 Christmas Dinner and Change of Watch

It is my honour and privilege on behalf of PMD to invite you and your guest to our District's Christmas Party and Change of Watch.  It will be held on Friday Dec. 10 at the Executive Inn, 405 North Road, Coquitlam.  Doors open at 6 PM for 6:30 PM dinner service.
Your district council is subsidizing this event to encourage the return of face to face events and to have fun!
Tickets are available through the Eventbrite website at the following link:
Tickets are $45 which includes tax and gratuity.  It is a plated dinner, with an appetizer, dessert and your choice of three delicious entrees.  The menu is shown on the website, and below.  There will be a cash bar.  B.C. Provincial Health Order Covid protocols will be in effect.  
Dress will be Christmas casual.
Parking at the hotel is $11 for the evening.  
Tickets are limited and the deadline to order tickets is by November 19, 2021. 
Looking forward to seeing you there!
Guy Cooper
PMD District Commander




Understanding DSC and MMSI: What you need to know about the latest in marine VHF radio technology.

Why don’t more boaters set up and understand the use of the Digital Selective Calling function on their VHF radios?

Next to the invention of the EPRIB, the single-button DSC feature is the most valuable safety feature developed for boaters. In some ways, it’s even better than an EPRIB. Unfortunately, fewer than half the DSC-equipped VHF radios on recreational boats are programmed for use.

When properly used in near-coastal and inland waters, DSC, with the press of a single button, can alert more people to the need for help than any other method. DSC digitally sends a distress call to rescue personnel over the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System. When a radio is programmed with a Maritime Mobile Service Identity number, DSC transmits the vessel name and description, and an emergency contact’s information, to the authorities. When the radio is connected to a GPS receiver, DSC also transmits the vessel’s position.

The DSC alert is also received by other boaters within radio range. And, DSC lets the boater identify the exact nature of his emergency. All DSC radios are programmed with the following list of conditions: undesignated, explosion, flooding, collision, grounding, capsizing, sinking, adrift, abandoning ship, piracy attack and man overboard.

What is MMSI?

If your boat is equipped with a VHF-DSC (Digital Selective Calling) marine radio or you’re planning to get one for your boat, it’s never been easier in Canada to obtain an MMSI, or Maritime Mobile Service Identity, number. The DSC features of your radio—particularly distress calls—will not be functional until you have assigned an MMSI number to your radio.

Why Do I Need an MMSI Number?

The MMSI number uniquely identifies your vessel on the water. You can think of it as a telephone number for your radio. If your radio is also equipped with an AIS (Automatic Identification System) receiver, you can also see the positions and status of AIS vessels in your vicinity. Ideally, you have your radio connected to a GPS unit on your boat’s network. If your boat’s components use the newer NMEA 2000 protocol, your radio might even find the GPS of your chartplotter without any configuration hassle on your end.

The single most important reason for having a VHF-DSC radio with an MMSI is the capability to automatically send a distress call that includes the details of your boat and its position to nearby vessels and the Coast Guard. Perhaps more importantly, if you as the captain are incapacitated and need your shipmate(s) to handle a distress call, you can easily teach them how to do it. All DSC enabled radios have a red flap over the distress button, the red-covered button on the right of the pictured Lowrance Link 8 radio.

Press and hold the distress button for 5 seconds, and an alarm noise and a distress call with all the pertinent details of your vessel is sent. Once the distress call is received, you or your shipmates can answer any follow-up questions that the responding party may have on channel 16. Some radios, including my Lowrance Link 8, will allow a two-stage distress call: Press and release the button to select the nature of your distress (e.g. fire, flooding, collision, and so on), and then press and hold the distress button for 3 seconds to transmit the call.

DSC radios will continue to send the distress call every four minutes until a response is received.

How Do I Get an MMSI Number?

And here’s the best news. As of January of 2018, Industry Canada has enabled a new online form to allow you to quickly apply for an MMSI number:

It’s beyond the scope of this article to go through the entire form, but here are a few guidelines:

  • You will need a valid e-mail address to use on the form. Your MMSI number will be issued over email.
  • If you’re a recreational pleasure craft, your MMSI type is most likely “unlicensed”.
  • Your “General Classification” should be “Pleasure Craft PL” and not “Fishing Vessel FV”.
  • Your “Individual Classification” is more flexible, but should accurately describe your boat. Remember, these details are used to identify and find your boat on the water should you be in an emergency situation.
If in doubt of how you should specify any details, look up a buddy’s MMSI listing. MMSI searches can be done at If you type in my MMSI number, 316036336, you will see my boat’s details.
  • While you are legally required to have a Radio Operator’s Certificate (ROC-M) to operate a VHF marine radio in Canada, you are not required to enter proof of a certificate when you register for a MMSI number. You as an operator are not getting an MMSI—the MMSI belongs to the radio on your boat to identify its transmissions.
  • You should apply for a MMSI number for each VHF DSC radio on your boat, including backup handheld radios.
  • If you purchased a boat with an existing MMSI number programmed into the ship’s radio, you can use the same online form to update the owner information.

After you’ve submitted the online form, you should receive an email response with your new MMSI number from Industry Canada within two to three days. Be sure to check your spam or junk folder for the email from Industry Canada.

How Do I Update My Radio?

You will need to refer to your radio’s manual on specific steps to enter your new MMSI number


Tales from Sea

Summer lessons

I was recently told of an incident that occurred during the summer of 2021 that might give us pause and serve as a lesson of how quickly good times can turn bad. 

As with a lot of stories the names have been changed to protect the innocent. 

As the story goes the chap (we’ll call Sam) was tied up at one of the Marinas in the southern Gulf islands when he decided to take his kayak out for a bit of exercise as he’d done many times before. Sam was well past retirement age but was an experienced boater having owned both sail and power boats in the local waters ever since his Dad introduced him to boats at a young age. Sam had lots of experience in both power & sail boats and was a good swimmer and was wearing his PFD and took along a waterproof, handheld VHF that Sam’s wife (we’ll call her Mary) had always told him to take along on his adventures.

He felt well prepared. 

Back to the story. 

On the day in question Sam’s course this time took him around a point of land that he was very familiar with and he thought all would go well. Unfortunately that was not to be as his trip around the point of land went as planned but the return voyage not so well. The waters off this particular point of land, as the current increased, became quite choppy and when this was combined with the effects of a wake from passing boats Sam found himself in the water. He wasn’t particularly concerned, thinking he’d just get back on the kayak and be on his way. 

Well that plan didn’t work out, apparently his advancing age, the turbulent water and lack of any really good hand holds on the kayak conspired to turn the incident into a very unpleasant situation as it quickly became apparent that Sam was in real trouble; he wasn’t able to get out of the water and was quickly drifting northwest up Trincomali channel. 

Pulling the cord on his inflatable certainly helped as Sam no longer had to struggle to keep his head above water but he was still in cold water and not really in control and the added bulk of the now inflated PFD meant there was no way to get back onto the kayak.

Fortunately there were two lucky occurrences 1) a small aluminum outboard boat with three eager to help occupants who offered assistance and started to tow Sam and his kayak towards shore and 2) and the waterproof, handheld VHF he had. 

At this point Sam used the VHF to contact his mother ship where Mary was able to hear his calls for assistance. 

In a stroke of good fortune their son was onboard to conduct a zoom meeting so Mary was able to call on their son to take their 19ft tender out to quickly rescue Sam from what could have been a serious, life-threatening incident. 

Lessons learned were numerous:

1. Be aware of the possibility that your physical abilities may not be what you think they are, particularly with advancing age, regardless of how much experience you have. 

2. Always wear your PFD

3. Taking a VHF radio can be vital

4. Be sure your crew is able to operate your VHF radio. 

5. Basic first aid on how to treat hypothermia, fortunately an adjacent boater provided very worthwhile gear and assistance as Sam had gone hypothermic by the time he returned to the mother ship. Failing to treat this condition could have been tragic. 

Sam said afterward, on reflection, he should have immediately let go of the kayak, inflated his PFD and headed for shore, which was very close at the time of his going in the water. Having done that he would have been in a more stable situation than how he ended up.

All in all a good outcome from something that could have proved fatal.


Bill Botham, PCdr, VPSS


Do you have any Stories?
...that you'd like to share?

If you feel the urge to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, as the case may be), and have a story you'd like to share with fellow members, we'd like to read it!

Funny stories, lesson-learned stories, great cruising stories, you-won't-believe-what-happened stories...

Please send any short masterpieces to and we'll try to include them in the Masthead when we have space.

Happy writing... and boating!      

November 15
       VPS Member, Harold Gordon, Marine Surveyor
False Creek Yacht Club

December 10
Christmas Dinner and Change of Watch
Executive Plaza Hotel
405 North Road, Coquitlam

Membership Renewal

A reminder to members to renew your membership! 

In order to renew, you must log into the cps-ecp website.  If you have forgotten your password, you can create a new one.  If you no longer use the email with which you made your profile, you will need to contact Moe to forward to National.  For security reasons, only the member can change their email.   If you forgot or ‘gave up’ last year when trying to renew your membership on the new system, you will not be penalized.   Just pay and renew for 2022 and you will be ‘good to go’ for the year.   Another note, the system is very fussy, and every box must be filled in order for you to proceed.   I know that, for some members, renewing has been a frustrating experience, but it is getting easier all the time as the various glitches are being found and worked out.

Remember that the ‘head of the household’ renews for the entire household.   Lifetime members must still renew at 0.00.     Any questions?    Any problems?  Ask our membership officer, Moe Forrestal
Squadron Bridge (2020-2021)

Commander Elizabeth Zygmunt  
Executive Officer 

Assistant Educational Officer Peter Girling    
Assistant Educational Officer (Radio)
Peter Bennett    
Charles Tai    
Financial Officer
Don Mathew    
Assistant Financial Officer
Les Hausch   
Membership Officer
Moe Forrestal 
Assistant Membership Officer
Twyla Graeme    
Programs Officer
     Terry Friesen
Environmental Officer Bill Blancard    
Communications Officer

Newsletter Editor  Carol Anne Humphrys
Supply Officer (Regalia) Don Zarowny    
Webmaster/IT Officer
Peter Bennett    
Dennis Steeves    
Past Commander
Bill Botham 
Officer-at-Large Dave Atchison     
Officer-at-Large Roger Middleton



F O L L O W on F A C E B O O K
F O L L O W on T W I T T E R
V P S B o a t . c o m
FORWARD this email
Copyright © 2021 Vancouver Squadron, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp
Follow us
Like us