The buoys of summer

As the sun rose this morning, Coast Guard buoy tender Samuel Risley cast off, laden with red and green buoys, and set a course for the northerly shores of the Sound, one of the most welcome signs of spring so far this year.
With the channel markers in place, boaters, especially those with a deep keel, are reassured among the islands.
Buoy tenderThe Samuel Risley carries a large and powerful crane on her long low afterdeck for manipulating buoys. Two hundred and twenty-eight feet long, 1967 tons, with a crew of 22, it is a light icebreaker, capable of cutting through up to 33 inches of ice. A familiar sight arriving and departing the Coast Guard wharf next door, she has been observed standing off, like a protective parent, if a fleet of little sailboats is returning to Sail Parry Sound as she approaches.
The Coast Guard writes of the original Samuel Risley, the first chairman of the Board of Steamship Inspectors, that he was born in New York City in 1821. After he came to Upper Canada he became a steamboat inspector under the Steamboat Act of 1851, at which time he would have been aged 30 with at least twelve years of practical experience. In 1858, he assumed the office of Chairman of the Board. After Confederation, Risley was responsible for shipping safety for the entire country.
Change was difficult in the face of lethargy but Risley was tenacious. If you have read Maritime Histories of the Great Lakes,  you will know that much of the news of the time was shipping accidents. The Globe and Mail noted in 1881 that 470 lives had been lost in only three years.
After the wrecks of the Asia, not far from here, and the overloaded Victoria near London, Ontario, Risley and his colleague William Morgan Smith set standards for such things as inspection, cargo and passenger capacity, and seaworthiness.
Risley’s reforms paved the way for shipping and boating safety today.