Thousand Islands Monthly Chapter meeting November 10, at 7 pm, Bud's on the Bay, Brockville


With another season wrapping up, the 2016 planning season begins.

Our next Chapter meeting is Tuesday November 10th at 7 pm at Bud’s on the Bay in Brockville.

The agenda items so far are:

Agenda Items

2016 Elections
Final sign off on Bench Project
Diver Token sales report
Presentation to City Council
Canada 150 Grant Application


The Elections: As per Save Ontario Shipwrecks bylaws we are required to have an election of executive members for the 2016 year in January or February of 2016. We normally do not have a meeting in January so the election will need be held on Tuesday February 9, 2016.
Nominations should be accepted at the November and December meetings or via email. Up for grabs: Chapter Chair, Chapter Vice-Chair, Chapter Secretary, Chapter Treasurer

Being newer to the Thousand Islands Chapter (only a couple years), but not new to being part of Save Ontario Shipwrecks, the history of the Chapter is told to me by members who have been active for some time. What they tell me is that a few years ago the Chapter almost folded due to the lack of involvement from members. There is no longer a Quebec Chapter as an example of lack of involvement. We CANNOT let this happen to the Thousand Islands Chapter!!!

Save Ontario Shipwrecks on Facebook: It is great to see so many people be “members” on that page and it is great that people “Like” posts and all that but coming out to meetings and actually becoming true members of Save Ontario Shipwrecks that are actively involved in the activities of the Chapter is how the wrecks are protected, how the moorings to these wrecks that everyone likes to dive are maintained, and how projects for the dive community are completed. Without Save Ontario Shipwrecks to organize the funding, the knowledge, the resources and most importantly, the volunteers, these things would not likely continue to take place. Moorings are not cheap. Without the local Thousand Island Chapter, these moorings would be returned to Save Ontario Corporate and would not be readily available to charter operators and private users who depend on a secure place to moor up. Moorings protect the wrecks from damage by providing a secure attachment point to the wreck. Without this, people would be dropping anchors all over the place, including on the wreck!

Save Ontario Shipwrecks doesn’t just protect wooden wrecks, they protect all wrecks. Now living up in one of the best dive locations in Ontario, let alone the world shocks me that there isn’t more involvement from the dive community. How can an area so rich in history and wrecks suffer from lack of local involvement. People come from all over the world to dive our wrecks and are always amazed that we have a provincial group like Save Ontario Shipwrecks that through the support of voluntary Chapters, can keep the wrecks protected so that everyone can enjoy the history of them.

There are new divers being certified all the time, but few even know about Save Ontario Shipwrecks. They want to dive the wrecks. I remember when I was first certified, I couldn’t wait to get out there and see stuff. I thought it was great that the unique sites that our fresh water realms give us are protected. Our unique wooden wrecks have objects like masts, rigging, dead eyes, portholes and windlasses on them that are not on the metal ships of today. The City of Sheboygan wreck has a prism in the deck boards. The only reason that it is still there is because it is protected. Divers enjoy keeping it clean and taking turns shining their light through it as their buddy goes below deck to witness what it’s function was. I took a Nas 1 (Nautical Archeological Survey) course offered by Save Ontario Shipwrecks when I lived in Niagara. It was an extremely fun weekend of learning and in water tasks. I left with a better appreciation of the wrecks that I was looking at.

Too many people who are certified through a shop or private instructor are hesitant to join various groups for whatever reason. We are all on the same team!! Local involvement is important!

Coming to a meeting once a month is hardly a lot to ask, and not all of us can make it every month. Meetings are held the second Tuesday of every month. Coming out to volunteer some time during a project again is not a hard thing to do. Membership to Save Ontario Shipwrecks is not expensive. For those that get their information from the Facebook page and will be reading this, I urge you not only “Like” it, but to become a member and come on out! I belonged to a club in Niagara and the yearly fee was $60 not including the OUC insurance of $30 to participate in anything. It might have gone up since I left but membership to Save Ontario Shipwrecks is mere $35/year for an individual, and $60/year for a family. This includes insurance so that participation in the S.O.S. events are easy without extra cost or hoops to jump through. We have Annual General Meetings that rotate around the province showcasing some of the various areas and are typically held early spring before the typical dive season begins. Speakers come out to give presentations and some workshops are even planned. People wishing to put together a NAS 1 course can do so with a minimum of 4 participants. This is not included in the membership as the instructors need to dedicate their own time for this, but it is available.

One final thing. You do not have to be a member to come out to a meeting, but we do encourage that you join because as a member you can vote and have a say in what happens in our Chapter of Save Ontario Shipwrecks. I encourage you to come out to meetings. The next couple are important in moving forward, but all meetings need more involvement. We have all said “someone else will do it, they don’t need me...”, but we do need you.

See you at the next meeting. Tuesday November 10th, 7 pm at Bud’s on the Bay in Brockville.


Jen Bush