By Martin Patriquin - Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 0 Comments
The Costa Concordia wasn’t the only vessel to make waves this year
In a combination of idiocy and breathtaking hubris, captain Francesco Schettino steered the Costa Concordia close to the Italian island of Isola del Giglio for a so-called “near-shore salute.” The Concordia hit a reef and capsized, and 32 of the 4,252 people aboard died in the ensuing chaos. Worse still: Schettino abandoned the ship early, claiming he “fell” into a lifeboat.
A Royal flush
More than 700 passengers on three ships reported un-cruise-like bouts of diarrhea and vomiting over one February weekend. The cause was norovirus, which is typically spread through ingesting contaminated food or water. The departure of Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas was delayed as 200 of its passengers were quarantined, while two other ships, the Ruby Princess and Crown Princess, were forced back to port after noro-virus outbreaks. LadrÓns with cojones Speaking of un-cruise-like behaviour, 22 passengers of the Panama-flagged Carnival Splendor were robbed at gunpoint during a day trip in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Bandits relieved passengers, who were on a bus on their way back from a nature tour, of their money, watches and passports. Two weeks before, the U.S. State Department had issued a travel advisory warning Americans of the dangers of travelling to 14 Mexican states, including Jalisco, where Puerto Vallarta is located. Continue…
By Cigdem Iltan - Friday, July 8, 2011 at 11:30 AM - 0 Comments
Adults caught wading in King County, Wash., rivers this summer without a life jacket could face an $86 ﬁne
Adults caught wading in King County, Wash., rivers this summer without a life jacket could face an $86 ﬁne. County council members have passed a law that requires anyone swimming, wading or boating in major rivers more than ﬁve feet from shore or four feet deep to wear a life jacket, regardless of their age or swimming ability. Fears that a 200 per cent increase in the county’s snowpack this year could make waterways especially dangerous spooked council members into voting ﬁve to four in favour of the law. “We are looking at a potentially deadly situation,” council member Larry Phillips said. Supporters of the law say it will save lives, pointing to 17 drowning deaths in major county rivers between 2005 and 2009. But critics have accused the county of over-regulation. “This council sometimes thinks it’s everybody’s mom,” said council member Kathy Lambert, who voted against the ordinance. The law, which is in effect from July 1 to Oct. 31, doesn’t apply to skin divers, adults ﬁshing or people on designated public beaches. A ﬁrst offence will result in a warning, while second-time offenders will get a ﬁne, whether their bathing suits have pockets for tickets or not.
By the editors - Monday, June 6, 2011 at 9:15 AM - 5 Comments
Ottawa cannot be expected to remove all possibility of risk from our lives
Coureurs de bois were Canada’s original action heroes. These rebellious bushrangers of New France rejected official efforts to control the entire beaver trade. Ignoring the need for a government fur licence, they took to canoes and sought adventure and profit on their own in the deepest woods. That freedom so many Canadians ﬁnd in a summer spent camping or canoeing can be traced back to the coureurs de bois and their spirit of independence. Not to mention their lack of a mandatory life-jacket law.
It is once again boating season in Canada. And once again Canadians face the prospect that the federal government may decide to force every boater in the country to wear a life jacket.
Both the National Recreational Boating Advisory Council and the Canadian Safe Boating Council have been discussing mandatory life jackets for recreational boaters for many years. The CSBC is devoting an entire day to the subject at its annual meeting this September. A recommendation to Ottawa favouring a new law now seems inevitable. And the Ontario Provincial Police, Canadian Red Cross and Canadian Lifesaving Society all regularly demand mandatory personal flotation devices for anyone in a power boat or canoe.
By Ken MacQueen - Thursday, September 3, 2009 at 1:40 PM - 6 Comments
A born tinkerer, he knew no fear. Inevitably he was smitten with the fastest thing on Lake Muskoka.
Philip Ronald Morden was born June 30, 1976, in Hamilton and grew up in the tight-knit suburb of Ancaster. He was the second child of Judy Morden, an office administrator at the school board, and her husband, Glen, who worked in construction. Philip was close to his older sister, Andrea, who “mothered him as her own,” as Judy puts it. Family and friends describe him as charismatic, with boundless curiosity for the inner workings of everything, be they machines, economics or people. Judy recalls a trip to Walt Disney World where the site’s famous roller coaster fired their young son’s imagination. “Philip was more interested in how they built Space Mountain than the ride itself,” she says. Philip and his dad were often bent over bicycles or cars. “I’d let him take things apart and then help him put them together,” says Glen. “Just so he had an understanding of it.”
He was a natural athlete, always eager to push the limit in any sport he embraced, from snowboarding to hockey to skateboarding, says Josh Doan, a childhood friend. “He didn’t really have any fears trying the newest trick on a skateboard or a snowboard,” says Josh, now head golf pro at the nearby Glen Abbey Golf Club. “I was always envious of that. He would push me definitely to do what he could do, to just take it over that edge.” Philip did not share Josh’s passion for golf, but when the two teens worked as “backshop boys” at Ancaster’s Heron Point Golf Course, Philip added excitement to the game by overriding the speed governor on the gas-powered carts. “He was a bit mischievous,” says Josh. “He made those golf carts go really fast.” Continue…
By Andrew Coyne - Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 5:00 PM - 46 Comments
Every accidental death raises the same simple-minded cry
In a typical year, somewhere around 450 Canadians will die by drowning. As it happened, in the ﬁrst week of August this year, eight Canadians drowned—about the number one would expect in any given week, except that, on this particular week, all the victims met their end in Ontario. Or more precisely, within the catchment area of the Toronto Star.
In an instant, an entirely probable series of tragic accidents was transformed into an epidemic, with a single cause and a universal remedy. “Drownings prompt calls to reform boating laws,” the paper’s front page headline blared. “A shocking spate of drownings on Ontario’s lakes and rivers,” the story reported, “has ofﬁcials demanding all boaters be required to wear life jackets.” Continue…