Letters & Emails

Silver Islet No Longer Maintained?

June 17, 2007

Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Small Craft Harbours
Central and Arctic Region
P.O. Box 85120
Burlington, ON L7R 4K3

Harbor authorities,

I have recently learned that your office is considering re-designation of the wharf, ramp and breakwall at Silver Islet Landing, Ontario, from its status as a harbour of refuge to a lower status that would reduce or suspend government maintenance.

I think this would contribute to the hazards of operating a vessel on the Canadian shore of Lake Superior. My wife and I have cruised this shore for over 30 years and have spent many safe nights at the Silver Islet wharf, mainly under good weather conditions, but frequently taking refuge from high winds or fog. Our logbooks for Solstice, Juniper and Keeper record all of these visits, but one stands out in defense of maintaining a safe landing for distressed vessels. On August 3, 1997, we were operating Keeper east of Dreadnaught Island just past Porphyry Island Light. Our engine began to overheat; we found a coolant hose had split, and we had lost considerable coolant. We taped up the hose and slowly eased our way about 6 miles into Silver Islet without damage to our engine. If we had lost our power we would have been blown out into Lake Superior. We likely would have been unable to reach as far as Thunder Bay, Red Rock or Nipigon for assistance. At Silver Islet, Jim Coslett, Rudy Jahn and Rich Hollway volunteered their services to replace the damaged hose and we resumed our northeasterly voyage on August 4.

It is clear to us that Silver Islet Landing is strategically located on a shore that has limited facilities for launching, refuge from inclement weather, provisioning, assistance such as we received, and a comfortable stopover. We urge you to preserve Silver Isletís designation as a Harbour of Refuge.

Donn Larson
Duluth, MN

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