Allan Woolnough of the Collingwood Yacht Club says sailors had better be prepared to launch later this year because low water levels continue to plague the Great Lakes, causing grave concern among the boating community.
“We’re probably going to be delayed a month,” he says, adding half the fleet isn’t going to be able to get to their slips if levels continue to decline on Georgian Bay. “Our option was really just delay.”
This revelation comes on top of a special project the yacht club and Town of Collingwood have undertaken in order to address the low water level issue. According to an update from the club in mid-April, a plan was beginning to take shape to install a 200’ floating wave break in the south harbour and relocate three main docks behind it “as an emergency measure to address the dramatically lower water levels projected for this summer,” the update reads. “The Canadian Hydrographic Service continues to forecast Georgian Bay water levels well below chart datum for the summer months.”
In a somewhat confusing sign of the times, the Dept. of Fisheries & Oceans has stopped publishing their annual Notices to Mariners (NOTMAR), Radio Aids to Marine Navigation (RAMN), and List of Lights (LOL?). They are now available exclusively as free PDF downloads: NOTMAR here, RAMN here, LOL here. (2013 Editions in early April)
We don’t often refer to the RAMN these days, but we like to have them aboard to comply with some racing rules, vigilant officials, and general prudence. So it seems we’ll be printing off hundreds of pages or keeping PDF copies on our iPads. Would you buy hard copies if we pre-printed them for you? If anyone has any suggestions or thoughts on this issue, we’d love to hear them!
We’ve heard scuttlebutt about some Lake Ontario boaters who have been charged for not carrying the proper charts. While the Canadian Shipping Act is very clear about what is required on large ships, it is less prescriptive for small boat operators. Although the law requires all marine vessels to carry charts, small boat operators are exempt as long as they have “local knowledge” of the area. It is the definition of “local knowledge” that is variable and can get the average mariner into trouble.
Whether it illegal or not to operate your boat without charts, mariners should always have at least a small-scale chart of the area they regularly boat in. And if in unfamiliar waters, charts are a helpful aid for keeping your boat out of trouble. In addition to maritime law and basic self-preservation, some boat insurance policies may also require current charts of the area you’re operating in.
We know that buying a ton of individual charts can be expensive. There is often a more economical solution. For example if you are boating on the Great Lakes, there is a Richardsons Chartbook for each lake that includes both the small-scale, large area charts and the more detailed charts. New editions are issued every few years. However, they may not be considered “proper charts” by the very strictest/most litigious authorities.
We list thousands of charts on our site, and link PDF copies of the Canadian Hydrographic Service chart catalogues down the right-hand side of our chart pages. We keep our inventory fresh so are charts are always up-to-date, and we’ve had years of experience in chart selection and can help you choose the right compliment of charts for your needs, anywhere in the world. Have a look at the Chart section of our website, or call or email us for a tailored list.
Two new Cuban chart kits have been released by surveyor specialists from NV charts. The first is Cuba Northeast which covers from Cabo Maisi to Varadaro, and the second is Cuba Northwest which covers from Varadero-Habanna to Cabo San Antonio. The package has a companion CD containing the charts in digital format. These are the first up-to-date and publicly available charts to Cuba in many years. Nigel Calder’s Cuba: A Cruising Guide is an excellent guide to accompany the charts for this area.
Northeast Cuba Chart Kit
Cuba: a Cruising Guide by Nigel Calder
Northwest Cuba Chart Kit
We forsee this area becoming a very popular destination for cruisers. Several new international marinas have been built in Varadero and there are now 1,500 new berths. Varadero and Marina Hemingway in Havana are the main ports for cruisers clearing in and out of Cuba. Many boaters have found cubacruising.net to be an excellent resource in their travels around Cuba.