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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Postmodern refections[sic] for marine safety education on "tin boating" in the Canadian wilderness Rosenthal, Alex


Marine safety education initiatives are most often constructed along rational functionalist lines that tend to assume that accidents and deaths that accompany them are caused by lack of appropriate technical knowledge, equipment failure or the irrational behaviour of participants. One sector identified by this research, which seems to have a disproportionally high rate of involvement in these incidents, is that of small open skiffs < 5.5m - usually made from aluminum. Most of these incidents take place on the inland waterways of the Canadian Shield. I look at the activity from the perspective of two separate but parallel discourses on the topic: the official discourse as portrayed by the Canadian Coast Guard, Search and Rescue, the Power and Sail Squadrons, the Canadian Red Cross and various police forces and the popular discourse as seen in lifestyle commercials, advertising catalogues, outdoors sporting goods shows and sports television. I suggest throughout that gender, race and economic marginality are powerful influences that must be factored into our educative efforts if we, the Canadian boating public, are to reduce the number of fatalities. The construction of the subjectivites of the participants will be considered in the context of several competing conceptions concerning the nature of Nature in the postmodern era. A form of narrative analysis known as deconstruction is used to interrogate the theoretical foundations of the textual artefacts. I use postcolonial theory to develop a distinctively Canadian narrative concerning the underpinnings of a reconceptualized marine safety education. In the final section, some considerations for extending this work into other areas of wilderness recreation were explored.

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