Jericho Sailing Centre AssociationFebruary 20, 2013
in the wind
Ahoy Vancouver Ocean Lovers: 
Here is what's "in the wind", coming events and items of interest at the Jericho Sailing Centre, Vancouver' Ocean Access Community Centre, for February 20, 2013 and beyond:
In This Issue
MAYDAY Kitsilano!
2013 JSCA Fees
Join our Mailing List!
The Closure of Kitsilano Coast Guard Station
...and 3 possibilities for its resuscitation
Under media cover of the British Columbia Budget presentation in the Victoria Legislature yesterday; without any fanfare or even just notification to the City of Vancouver; the Federal Government closed the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station. The 3 vessels located there (including an emergency environmental response vessel) reported their departure from the station to Victoria Coast Guard radio and the few people who were here at the Jericho Sailing Centre this cold and breezy winter day, grimly watched them sail past, possibly for the last time.
After a 9 month gestation of fiercely galvanized local opposition including: public rallies, petitions, emails, letter writing and speeches, the Federal Government said damn the torpedoes full speed ahead and closed the station right in the dead of winter.

At this point it seems there are only 3 possibilities to resuscitate, what has been for the past 50 years, Canada's busiest coast guard station:

1.) A new Federal Government;
2.) Loss of life to a magnitude unacceptable to the Conservatives (whatever that may be); or,
3) The Prime Minister of Canada living up to his own words.

As time is of the essence I encourage readers to adopt option 3 for the moment and write to our Prime Minister
(cc local Conservative MPs) something along the lines of the following:       


Right Honourable Stephen Harper
House of Commons
Parliament Buildings
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6


Dear Prime Minister Harper:


While you were in Vancouver on February 8, you made comments to our local media which indicate your support of the closure of the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station is based on some misunderstandings which require clarification.


You stated that the closure has to do with the government intention to "...move things away from offices and back offices and to actually having resources on the ground and in the water." Before lives are lost, Mr. Prime Minister, you should be aware that there were no back office staff at the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station. The Kitsilano Coast Guard Station was staffed with 12 highly trained marine Search and Rescue specialists who worked in 4 - three crew rotations (morning, afternoon, night and days off) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. These people came to work every day fully prepared to risk their safety to rescue people in distress on Canada's busiest waterway. Not coincidentally, for the past 50 years, Kitsilano has consistently been Canada' s busiest lifesaving station.  


When you said that the closure was "...based on the advice we have received from the coast guard..." were you aware that the back office Coast Guard management did not even take the time to consult with their most qualified personnel, the Marine Coordinators of the Victoria Joint Rescue Coordination Centre? Were you aware that when these foremost experts, who have more than 100 years of combined direct Canadian Coast Guard Search and Rescue experience on the coast of British Columbia, objected in writing to management because the closure would put lives at risk; their advice, the best the Canadian Coast Guard has to offer, was carelessly dismissed by a Deputy Coast Guard Commissioner who has no professional sea time and only negligible SAR experience with the Navy Reserves? Shouldn't the Canadian government be relying on the best available advice when making a decision which could cost Canadian lives? The advice your government received from the Coast Guard back offices was incompetent at best; when the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station closure results in lives lost, and in the opinion of most experts it will, it could prove to be negligent.


When you said that it is the Canadian government's intention " put as many of the resources as we can into actually having rescue boats in the water." someone in your government should have informed you that there will actually be fewer vessels, with an inferior crew capability. Vancouver will be losing a full time, professionally crewed, all weather cutter that can be away from the Kitsilano dock within 3 minutes of a distress call. It can respond in weather that renders the hovercraft from the Sea Island Station ineffective. You also should have been aware that Vancouver is losing a year round IRB (Inshore Rescue Boat) which will be downgraded and reallocated to the summer seasonal Deadman Island Station to be crewed by novice students. The back office staff you, understandably, intend to move away from ignored the fact that two-thirds of the most serious marine distress calls answered by Kitsilano Station occur outside of the Deadman Island Station season?


In your comments, Mr. Prime Minister, you indicated the Government of Canada wants to do what "... we think is best for public safety." Were you aware that all members of Vancouver's longstanding Marine Safety Network (outside of federally funded partners); the local Coast Guard Advisory Committee; the Province of British Columbia; the City of Vancouver and surrounding municipalities; retired Canadian Coast Guard Search and Rescue personnel; Vancouver's marine transportation, industrial and recreational communities all agree that the closure of the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station will result in the loss of lives and the only people who think it is best for public safety are the very back office dwellers your government is trying to move away from?  


Before lives are lost, Mr. Harper, please take another, closer look and live up to your recent words by reversing this ill advised decision. Every life that is lost as a result of the closure of the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station, will hang around your government's neck like the proverbial albatross.




Mike Cotter,

General Manager

Jericho Sailing Centre Association



During the Vancouver Boat Show members of the Jericho Sailing Centre collected 3,000 form letters to the Prime Minister objecting to the closure. Now that the station is closed, we still object, we just need to object a little louder. While we encourage readers to write their own letters, for your convenience, that letter and a clickable email link are on the Jericho Sailing Centre website SOS Kitsilano

When folded correctly letters can be mailed for free to the Prime Minister's office. Our goal is to have 10,000 of these mailed over the next month. We also have correctly formatted copies available at the Jericho Sailing Centre.

We still encourage readers to keep the pressure on our local Conservative MPs listed below:


Here are the email addresses of local Conservative MPs:















JSCA 2013 Membership and Storage Fees
There is an anomaly in our annual billing for JSCA Membership and Storage fees this year due to the transition away from HST on April 1.  Our membership year covers the period from April 1 to March 31 of the following year, however, Revenue Canada requires us to charge HST if we invoice prior to April 1. For that reason, the JSCA will send out our annual invoice via mail and email on April 1 due, for this year only, by April 30. The regular late fee of $60 will apply on May 1. Anyone wishing to pay the HST can contact the office prior to April 1 for a special invoice.

In December the JSCA Board approved the following increases: Memberships 3% (rounded up to the nearest dollar; Craft Storage 4.5%; and Lockers 5%. With these increases, the JSCA still provides the best ocean recreational facilities at the lowest price in Vancouver and with the transition away from HST, members will be paying less in 2013 than they did in 2012.
Dress Appropriately for Cold Water Conditions
There are many people, particularly Stand Up Paddlers, launching from Jericho Beach these days who are new to cold water ocean recreation. Here are some things they must know about:

Appropriate Attire - Dress for Cold Water Immersion
The water temperature is well below the level where it is safe to recreate without a proper (no shorties) wetsuit or drysuit. People who get into serious trouble at this time of year have often made the mistake of dressing for the air temperature not the water temperature, which is fine until something goes wrong and they suddenly find themselves immersed in the water. 


Use Your Head
Significant heat loss is through your head. When you consider that hypothermia is the most significant danger experienced ocean recreationalists face and a neoprene cowling cost $15 at MEC, you don't need a calculator to do the math. A wool toque or hat will also work quite well.


Always Stay with Your Craft
When a sailing dinghy, windsurfer or kayak capsizes they are usually within a couple of swim strokes of their crew. Some craft, particularly SUP's and surf skis, require a safety leash (in good condition and properly attached) as they can easily get away in a capsize situation. Never leave your craft in an emergency situation as it is far easier to spot than a person in the water. 

Use the Buddy System 
Always sail, paddle, row with someone else, especially in cold water conditions. Let a reliable friend or relative know when and where you are going and when you expect to return. Diligently contact them upon your safe return. If you are launching from Jericho Beach stop in at the JSCA office to let us know when and where you are going and when you expect to return.

Be Aware of Sunset
Recently, JSCA staff have witnessed people launching within a few minutes of sunset. This is a dangerous practice. If something goes wrong for you: equipment failure; changing conditions; fatigue, etc., you are very difficult to find in the dark. Make sure your safety float plan includes plenty of time to get off of the water before sunset.   
Jericho Sailing Centre Etiquette 

Common sense and consideration of fellow members help make the Jericho Sailing Centre a true community centre with a friendly salt water community atmosphere. Here are a few etiquette reminders to keep things sailing along smoothly:


  • Do not leave your craft unattended on the shoreline for extended periods - share the shore.                          
  • RAMPS, and the areas adjacent to launching ramps, are for craft launch/retrieval only. Do not rig, repair or otherwise loiter in this area.
  • Do not leave or rig your craft in the rinsing areas adjacent to hosing stations. 
  • The Jericho Sailing Centre is a SMOKE FREE facility. There is No Smoking permitted in any Vancouver Park or beach area.
  • Give pathway users the right of way and bear in mind they may be distracted and not aware that you are crossing the pathway with your craft or launch rope.
  • launch dollies are for launching/retrieval only (not for storage) and must be returned to the fence immediately after use.
  • if you launch from your own dolly or trailer return it to your storage spot after launching.
  • do not use the winches unless you are familiar with their safe operation. Winch instruction is available from staff or Jericho Rescue Team members. Only members or registered guests may use winches & dollies.
  • only leashed, well behaved dogs are allowed in the compound, no dogs are allowed in the building or on the deck. Do not tie dogs to the base of stairwells or in other traffic areas. Do not leave your dog onshore while you are on the water. The City prohibits dogs on beaches. In consideration of other Jericho users please consider leaving your dog at home while visiting the Jericho Sailing Centre.
  • Please coil hoses immediately after use and conserve water.
  • Do not block aisle ways.
  • Rinse racks are for rinsing not drying.
  • Swimming is prohibited in front of the Jericho Sailing Centre.
SAFETY is Your Responsibility
On the ocean there are elements of risk that common sense and personal awareness can help reduce. Regardless of how you decide to use the ocean always show courtesy to others. Please adhere to the code listed below and share with others the responsibility for a safe ocean experience. 

It is every member's responsibility to know and observe the rules of the road when on or near the water. Here are some key rules which every Jericho member must know and practice.

1. Always wear your P.F.D. on the water.
2. Sail powered craft have the right of way over power craft, paddle and rowing powered craft.
3. All non-commercial vessels shall keep well clear of commercial vessels.
4. It is illegal and extremely dangerous to pass between a tug and it's tow.
5. A port tack sailing vessel shall keep clear of a starboard tack vessel.
6. A windward vessel shall keep clear of a leeward vessel.
7. A vessel clear astern shall keep clear of a vessel ahead.
8. Any vessel overtaking another shall keep clear.
9. A vessel tacking or gybing shall keep clear of a vessel on a tack.
10.The area south of the orange can buoys is for training or transiting only.
11.Swimming or wading on the beach in front of the Centre is prohibited and is particularly dangerous for small children.
12.It is unsafe to loiter or let children play near the bottom of launching ramps.
13. Stay well clear of the end of the Jericho Pier as fishers cast lines as far as possible
14. Be cautious of pathway traffic when launching/retrieving
15. Do not leave your craft on the shoreline for extended periods of time
Common sense goes a long way toward maintaining a safe environment. Membership in the Jericho Sailing Centre Association is contingent on members knowing and observing the Safe Ocean Sailing rules.
Links to previous issues