Month: December 2013

Boating Essentials – Canadore College, Parry Sound

Boating Essentials

Prerequisite: Any Canadian Coast Guard accredited Pleasure Craft Operator’s Card (PCOC) — BUT

If you don’t have an operator’s card yet, tell us and arrangements will be made.

Whether you are interested in powerboats or sailing vessels, large or small pleasure boats, Boating Essentials is for you!  This course picks up where information to get ‘the Card’ leaves off.

Boating Essentials introduces proven plotting and navigation tools using compass, and GPS/Chartplotter.  With the course you will learn skills to make better sense of navigation with a GPS.  Included are practical charting exercises.  Other information essential to safe and fun boating included in the course are:

  • Anchors and Anchoring
  • Ropes and useful knots, hitches and bends
  • Towing
  • Environmental Responsibilities
  • Pre-launch and Annual Layup Checklist
  • Global Positioning and Charts
  •  An introduction to Electronic Navigation
  • A study of charts and strip charts in and around Parry Sound.

On passing the final exam you will automatically become a full member of the Parry Sound Squadron of the Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons (CPS-ECP, Canada’s largest association of recreational boating enthusiasts) and receive the benefits of membership for one year.  Boating Essentials provides the basis for the advanced training available from CPS-ECP, including Seamanship, Advanced Piloting, Junior Navigation and Navigation.

Course details: 10 Wednesday evenings, January 8th to March 12th (6:30 – 9:00 PM). Location – Canadore College campus, Parry Sound, Ontario.

Call: John Mason at (705) 342-1315 or e-mail for information.

Price: 2014 – $250.00 per person ($148.75 tuition cost paid to Canadore, $101.25 for course materials paid the first night), $447.50 for two family ($148.75 per student for tuition, $150 for (2) course materials).  Please register at Canadore, Parry Sound (course information link).

December on the Big Sound

ParrySights-3374Looking out from the Smelter Wharf you can see Parry Island and Three Mile Point in the distance. taken December 23rd, the Big Sound is still wide open, while the Parry Sound inner harbour is iced over. I don’t expect that this will last for long. The nights have been clear and cold, and the Sound is rapidly losing its heat.

If you look closely you can see a sun dog a little left of centre.

Click on the photo for a larger image with more detail.

JB – Communications Officer

Delivering the Goods – Smelter Wharf

Following last week’s post I though it might be interesting to see a slightly more ‘romantic’ photo of a ‘saltie’ in the Parry sound Harbour. In this case it’s the Algorail delivering salt to the Smelter Wharf in the outer Parry Sound harbour.



At this point she’s fully unloaded with the draft marks showing her sitting at about 12 feet. The draft marks go up to 30 feet.

There’s more water at the Smelter Wharf than in the inner harbour. Right beside the wharf the charts show a little more than 20 feet, but this quickly drops off to 45 feet and then 75 feet.  Not quite the same challenge as docking at the inner harbour of Parry Sound. I suspect that there might be a little bit of grinding when the ‘saltie’ first pulls into position at the dock given how close it is tied to the wharf, the 20 foot depth at that spot, and the somewhat lower water levels this time of year.

JB – Communications Officer

Delivering the Goods

Last week the Mississagi arrived in Parry Sound to deliver what I expect was the last salt delivery of the season. It was later than I remember but it seems the winds we experienced for most of November had kept the ‘salties’ from delivering salt to the docks in the Parry Sound harbour and the Smelter Wharf. I was told the waves were on the order of 12 feet for much of November in the harbour in Goderich they are loaded from.

While watching the Mississagi land and start to unload the I spoke with a local resident who has been watching the ‘salties’ arrive and unload for decades. She mentioned that the Mississagi was able to get into the inner harbour because of her relatively shallow draft. You can see that at the point this photo was taken she was taking on about 21 feet, well above (below?) what she is able to carry. At this point she had not yet started to unload. It was mentioned to me that the harbour is quite shallow and requires a remarkably shallow draft, from a laker standpoint, to enter the inner harbour. (Click on the image for a larger view that makes it easier to see the draft marks.)


So I though t it might be interesting to take a look at the chart depths for a vessel as it enters the inner harbour passing through the gap between Salt Point and Bob’s Point. Pull out your charts and follow along.

It turns out that at one point the chart data shows a depth of a little more than 22 feet in the channel just before one reaches the red spar buoy (P42). And even as one emerges from the gap just past the breakwater for Big Sound Marina, the depth is still only 24 feet, with 21 feet marked a little to the west of a line defined by the ranges. The chart shows that the depth off of the dock where the Mississagi is shown tied up is 23 feet, and quickly drops to 14 feet as you approach the shore.

Given the relatively shallow depths involved and the proximity of Sound Boat works (seen in the background) I am impressed with how quickly the Mississsagi was able to enter the harbour, line itself up, and start unloading. It took less than 15 minutes to maneuver from a position perpendicular to the dock, to being tied up with the conveyer structure positioned over the dock. It was perfect day in terms of wind and waves, but impressive nonetheless.

Delivering the Goods


Santa Claus Parade – 2013

The Parry Sound Power and Sail Squadron participated in yesterday’s Optimist Santa Claus parade in Parry Sound. Here are a few snapshots from the event. It was a bit grey, but not too cold. Better onshore than off this late in the season.

The Boating Essential course starts in January, registration is available through Canadore College (use this link).

Preparing for the Big Show

The Head Elf (aka Executive Officer)

Underway (wearing PFDs)