Inaugural IIMS Canada Branch Vancouver conference voted a great success

The Lonsdale Quay Hotel hosted the IIMS Canada Branch Conference
The Lonsdale Quay Hotel hosted the IIMS Canada Branch Conference

A group of 40 plus attendees (including online delegates) and marine industry experts gathered for the first full-scale marine surveying Conference to be held in Vancouver by the International Institute of Marine Surveying Canada Branch on 6/7 March. Judging by the positive feedback from those who attended, the event was a great success.

The Lonsdale Quay Hotel in North Vancouver with its quirky market and food stalls on the ground floor proved to be a highly popular choice of venue and their hospitality team worked hard to satisfy everyone with a non-stop stream of coffee, pastries and savoury food.

Unable to join in person for business reasons, Regional Director, Ed O’Connor, said a few words to open the conference, before inviting IIMS CEO, Mike Schwarz, to host proceedings. In his opening address, Mike spoke passionately about the many activities, some highly technological in nature, being undertaken by the Institute. He concluded with an overview of the new worldwide Marine Surveying Practitioner accreditation scheme, now nearing readiness for launch.

Mike Schwarz (left) congratulates Lachlan MacKenzie on his election as Branch Chairman
Mike Schwarz (left) congratulates Lachlan MacKenzie on his election as Branch Chairman

Friend of the Institute, Jon Sharland, joined from the UK by video link and gave a thorough overview on the topic of multiple echo thickness measurements and GRP inspections.

Jonathan Naude, Capilano Maritime Design Naval Architects, came to the podium to speak about a complex and time constrained project to design a deliver a shallow draft tug, suitable for use on a remote river in the Yukon. He held delegates’ attention as he talked about some of the key project challenges that had to be and were met.

The personable Craig Norton, President of InspectX, showcased the latest developments with his report writing software, written by surveyors for surveyors. The software is gaining in popularity and it is clear to see why it appeals to many.

Staying with the theme of new technology, Sean Battistoni picked up the batten after lunch. In his informative presentation, he talked about his company’s product, Barnacle Monitoring Systems, sophisticated technology designed to protect boats by remote security. Those present were fascinated to hear him speak and to see a live demonstration.

Experienced insurance executive, John King, Senior Vice President with Aon Reed Stenhouse Inc., talked about errors and omissions insurance for marine surveyors. He offered some helpful hints and tips to assist surveyors as far as limiting their liability is concerned.

The closing of the first day fell to the effervescent Jeff Cote from Pacific Yacht Systems who proved to be something of a specialist in the areas of electrical and battery technology. He livened up and energised the audience at the end of the day as he imparted a wealth of knowledge to those who were in attendance.

Conference delegates enjoyed a pleasant cocktail party and supper at the venue that evening.

Day two dawned bright and early with the local Branch Annual General Meeting taking place. Lachlan MacKenzie, a yacht and small craft surveyor based on Vancouver Island, was voted in as the new branch Chairman.

Stan Bowles (centre) is awarded an Honorary Membership
Stan Bowles (centre) is awarded an Honorary Membership

Ed O’Connor was once again on hand by video link to open proceedings. Before handing over to the first speaker of the day. Mike Schwarz invited North Vancouver based surveyor and consultant, Stan Bowles, to accept an award as an Honorary Member of the Institute. He thanked Stan for his unstinting work for IIMS over many years. During that time Stan has been responsible for authoring modules for the IIMS Diploma in Commercial Ship Surveying as well as marking students’ papers and assignments.

Mike handed over to and introduced Capt John Malool, also sadly not able to be at the event in person due to a last-minute incident. Presenting live from New Jersey, John displayed his wealth of knowledge as he talked about a subject that surveyors often push to one side – atmospheric hazards and protecting the marine surveyor. John left those present in no doubt of the importance of health and safety in their workplace.

James Lawson was next to speak. He presented an introduction to IMO and Port State Control on behalf of Said Nassif, Canadian International Bureau of Shipping Ltd. James went to great length to talk about the history that has led to the various international conventions that now exist.

A slight change of plan was required in the final spot before lunch with one presenter calling in unwell. A recently videoed lecture given by corrosion expert, Jeffrey Casciani-Wood, on the subject of microbiological attack on steel was played to delegates and was well received.

Lithium batteries are still considered very much new technology and conference was joined by Jerry Makarawicz, assisted by Huxley Witts, from local company, Britmar Marine. As well as tackling the topic which was simply entitled ‘What you need to know about lithium battery technology’, Jerry had also brought a selection of batteries for delegates to see.

Lachlan MacKenzie, IIMS Canada Branch Chairman
Lachlan MacKenzie, IIMS Canada Branch Chairman

Once again due to missing speaker, there was a need to flex the schedule at short notice. Mike Schwarz took to the stand and gave an insightful presentation entitled ‘Non-technical tips and advice for writing an effective report’. He explained some of the things that go wrong in reports and offered practical tips to help surveyors avid unwanted litigation! Mike wrapped up the event with a short presentation entitled ’19 tips for business success’.

Recently elected Branch Chairman, Lachlan MacKenzie, closed the event. In his closing remarks he offered warm thanks to Sarah White, Branch Treasurer, for her enthusiasm and tenacity in assembling such an informative range of speakers and the wider IIMS Canada Branch Committee. He applauded those who came to present and share their knowledge and thanked IIMS members and others who had taken part in what turned out to be a memorable event.

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