TIA has been responsible for river shoal marking as well as other river safety programs.
In 1934, the mayor of Gananoque, George R. Webb initiated the formation of a protective association consisting of township officials in policing the islands during the winter. The idea became public in August of that year when the Ganonoque Reporter featured a story with the headline “Summer Visitors Organize.” Shortly afterwards, a group of interested island owners and local residents held their first meeting in the Gananoque Town Hall as The Summer Residents’ Association of the Township and Landsdowne. Members of this group agreed that the shoals were a major hazard on the St.Lawrence River and were labelled as a “menace to navigation.” Soon the headlines read “Better Marking of Shoals” to increase the community’s awareness of the ongoing efforts in place to improve shoal placement. The first efforts involved shoals marked with planks of wood, often painted bright orange. However, they were easily waterlogged and eventually replaced by tin and plastic barrels.
Over the years the membership grew beyond the Admiralty Islands, attracting boaters and islanders from the Lake Fleet, Navy and Ivy Lea Groups and Rockport. Word of mouth about the usefulness of having shoal markers spread and soon there was no boundary – TIA marked both sides of the border.
1980’s – Present Day
In the 1980’s the US Coast Guard decreed that all shoal markers on navigable waters had to be uniform in shape and markings. The cost went from $10 a barrel to $100 each plus the price of anchor & chain (2017 cost is now over $200). Everyone was asked to find new members to help cover these escalating costs.
TIA has been responsible for river shoal marking as well as other river safety programs. A simple safety card with local emergency numbers was made available by an island phone for residents to use when necessary. Other TIA initiatives included the eradication of gypsy moth larvae, providing defibrillators at marinas, the development of a campaign on fire pumps for islanders and remote locations, and securing funding for local Canadian and US fire departments to purchase essential equipment.
TIA has partnered with the Save the River organization in Clayton to coordinate a shoal marking program. 300 shoals have since been marked. The TIA is responsible for placing shoal markers on the Canadian side from the Trident Yacht Club in the Bateau Channel to Brockville. Save the River places shoal markers on the US side from Cape Vincent to Morristown.
Why Your Membership Matters
Each year TIA places close to 300 shoal markers throughout the 1864 islands in both Canadian and American waters. It is an expensive program funded by TIA membership fees and donations. Think how dangerous the river would be if there were no shoal markers. For the safety of all of us, our family, friends and visitors who boat in the Thousand Island region, please be a TIA member and supporter.