Testing of the new, permanent “Coast Guard Approved” larger markers over the past two years has proven to not just significantly improve marker visibility day and night on the water; but when properly installed, they’ve proven to be durable and stable in their year-round locations.

Your PaBIA Board of Directors has just approved the roll-out of the new permanent markers across Pointe au Baril waters, replacing all but a few of the traditional wooden smaller markers. A few seasonal markers will need to be kept due to the larger markers’ unsuitability in shallow water.

The new markers will be installed 10 per year for the next 10 years. This pacing is needed to manage capital costs as well as both annual materials and installation capacity in Pointe au Baril. Pacing the installation over 10 years will also allow us to spread out anticipated upkeep and eventual replacement costs as older markers require attention and maintenance. The placement of new markers will be prioritized based on safety factors with high traffic and poor visibility locations installed first.

PaBIA Members have been unanimous and glowing in their praise for the new markers during the testing. Everyone speaks of the markedly improved visibility and boating safety, especially at night and in bad weather. In addition, early and late season cottagers and contractors see a huge benefit given the permanent placement.

For all of us, having the PaBIA name and burgee logo appear prominently on all our markers will be a reminder of the important service your Cottagers’ Association is making to all who safely travel our waters.

With the improved navigation markers comes an increased cost to the Association. While we will all pay a little more over time for the new markers, the safety benefit and compliance with Transport Canada regulations is judged to be worth much more. With ballooning labour and material costs required for seasonal removal and maintenance of the traditional wooden markers, a permanent solution will become comparatively more efficient over time.

To minimize the initial capital and expected ongoing higher costs, your Board is looking at several ways to offset some of these expenses. Watch for details as these ideas take shape in the coming months.

A special and hearty thanks goes to our PaBIA Member Safety Director, Cath Fairlie, the skilled and dedicated volunteers on the PaBIA Maps and Markers Committee (Jim Rogers, Tom Cavers, Tom Lundy, and Andy Blenkarn), and, of course, Desmasdon’s Boat Works who have deftly shouldered the building, installing and maintenance of the PaBIA navigation wooden markers every year for decades.

Dave Sharpe, PaBIA Board President