Mount Brenton Power and Sail Squadron training officer Art Rendell dips the Canadian Power and Sails Squadron 75th anniversary flag into the water at the Ladysmith Maritime Society Community Marina.

Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons marks milestone

Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons celebrates its 75th anniversary, and a special flag is making its way across the country.

As the Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons (CPS) celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2013, the organization is made up of 26,000 members in 155 squadrons across Canada.

One of those squadrons is the Mount Brenton Power and Sail Squadron in Ladysmith, and on Sunday, Sept. 29, the squadron, which has been providing boating safety training since 1977, celebrated this milestone by receiving the CPS 75th anniversary flag from the Gabriola Squadron during a ceremony at the Ladysmith Maritime Society Welcome Centre.

The CPS had its start in 1938, when three members of the Windsor Yacht Club crossed the Ambassador Bridge into Detroit, Mich. Under the direction of the Detroit Power Squadron, Fred Dane, George Ruel, and G. William Bowman passed the United States Power Squadrons (USPS) Junior Piloting Course. They soon formed the first squadron in Canada, Windsor Power Squadron.

Cecil Ashley, public relations officer for the CPS Vancouver Island North District, has been following the CPS 75th anniversary flag since it arrived in Saltery Bay.

Two specially-designed 75th anniversary flags were sent to the U.S. May 5 and then presented to the Windsor Yacht Club. From the CPS’s starting point, one flag began a journey east and into the Atlantic Ocean, while the other started travelling west toward the Pacific Ocean, explained Ashley. Both flags will return to the CPS AGM in Toronto on Oct. 25. One flag will remain with the CPS, while the other will go to the U.S. for the 100th anniversary of the USPS.

After receiving the flag from the Gabriola Squadron Commander Ralph Hagen, Mount Brenton training officer Art Rendell dipped the flag into the water at the Ladysmith Maritime Society Community Marina. Bryan and Sue Loveless took the flag on a tour through town Sunday afternoon, and on Monday, the flag was given to Jay Page, who took it aboard the Saravan and headed to Maple Bay to present the flag to the Cowichan Squadron. The Saravan, a heritage tug owned by the Ladysmith Maritime Society, is also 75 years old this year.

“The number of people Power and Sail Squadrons have trained over the years is in the hundreds of thousands,” said Rendell. “The entire operation, every facet of what goes on at Power and Sail Squadrons, is done by volunteers. There are around 30,000 volunteers from coast to coast, and the number of man hours that are put in, I suspect, are incalculable.”

Tim Hornett, Vice Commodore of the Ladysmith Yacht Club, noted the club and the Mount Brenton Power and Sail Squadron work closely together.

“There are very few organizations that have made as much of an impact on keeping people safe on the water than Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons,” he said.

Nick Epp-Evans of Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Unit 29 also highlighted the significant impact CPS makes and the co-operation within the boating community.

“We in Unit 29 look toward Mount Brenton Power and Sail Squadron as having what can only be described as a symbiotic relationship,” he said. “CPS can be directly linked to saving lives on the water.”

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