We are a group of volunteers producing this nautical heritage site with information on Canada’s Pacific nautical history and heritage and other topics of general maritime interest. Click the links on the left side of the page to see the archived articles.

Those wishing to actively participate in an on–going discussion and Group investigation of British Columbia’s Nautical History should consider joining the British Columbia Nautical History Facebook group. This is a friendly and very active on–line discussion group (currently 2,900 members) that shares photographs, information and first–hand knowledge. Check it out and join up.

Recent Featured Articles:

The Island Commander: A Lifetime Through Paintings Island Commander

24/05/2017 Captain Ken Higgs is justifiably proud of the Island Commander, one of British Columbia’s oldest vessels still afloat. He shares a series of paintings which show the vessel as she appeared over more than 110 years.


The US Tug Invader Invader

22/05/2017 A number of contributors have shared images of the old US tug Invader which is now seen berthed on the Fraser River.


A Gallery of Early Canadian Dredges on the British Columbia Coast. Early BC Dredges

20/05/2017 Many of the major engineering projects on the British Columbia coast involved dredges – for harbour and navigation development. Most of these vessels are unfamiliar to nautical historians so we share a gallery of some of the more prominent vessels.


Farewell Comox MCTS – This will be the final broadcast ... Comox Radio Last Day

16/05/2017 In 2016 the Comox Coast Guard Radio Station closed after 108 years of service to mariners. Lynn Salmon, a former Radio Officer worked the last shift on air and captured sound and pictures which she shares in this article.


Building the Undersea Cable Station at Bamfield BC. Bamfield Cable Station

14/05/2017 For many years one of the chief attractions at Bamfield BC was the Trans–Pacific undersea cable station on the top of the hill. It was the center of operations of a technological miracle of its time. The station is now automated and no longer exists but the cable is still functioning, carrying internet data, telephone calls and other information as part of the global communications network.


The IJNS Idzumo IJNS Idzumo

09/05/2017 The events of the Second World War overshadow the fact that Japan was not only our ally in the First World War but actively worked to protect British Columbia from perceived threats from the German navy. The Idzumo was a welcome addition to the defences of our coast during the First World War. After the war, she sailed to Great Britain to take control of some ex–German submarines and then escorted them part of the way back to Japan. After that things changed. In the Second World War the Idzumo was sunk by American carrier aircraft during the attack on Kure in July 1945.


The Old US tug J.S. Polhemus J.S. Polhemus

07/05/2017 The old US tug J.S. Polhemus is one of a group of old vessels in various states of repair in Howe Sound BC. Contributor John Buchanan is concerned about the environmental risks they pose but is fascinated with their histories as well.


HMS New Zealand Visits Esquimalt BC HMS New Zealand

05/05/2017 The visit of HMS New Zealand to British Columbia before the First World War was intended to impress Canada to move them to support the Imperial Defence Scheme whereby Canada would purchase a battleship for the Royal Navy as part of the defence of the British Empire. Admiral of the Fleet Viscount Jellicoe travelled on to Ottawa to make his pitch. As we know from history Canada decided to commit to an all–Canadian navy instead.


The Fyrstyx ex–Phinisi Ansar Bangsa: An Indonesian Heritage Vessel on the BC Coast Indonesian Vessel

03/05/2017 Another artifact of EXPO ’86 was berthed in Ganges Harbour when it was taken over by Contributor Drew Clarke. He documented his experience with her and shares a photo essay with readers. She has ended up as a retreat on Mount Maxwell on Salt Spring Island.


Pakistani Heritage Vessel on the BC Coast Pakistani Vessel

01/05/2017 There was an artifact of EXPO ’86 berthed in Genoa Bay and Cowichan Bay for several years that had a very exotic origin. Contributor Robert Lawson recounts a Pakistani freighter which was brought to Vancouver for the World Fair and was given up afterwards as a floating heritage exhibit. We are looking for more information about this vessel – can you help.


The Sinking of the Passenger Ship Ohio The Sinking of the Ohio

27/04/2017 On August 27, 1909 the passenger ship Ohio struck a rock near Swanson Bay BC. She was sailed on in a very damaged condition as she began to sink. Unable to clear Bluff Point she altered course so that she would settle in shallow water in Carter Bay BC.


Vessels Built by Hilmar WingenHilmar Wingen

25/04/2017 A compiled nominal list of vessels built by Hilmar Wingen from the vessel database of The Nauticapedia.


The Sinking and Recovery of the Classic Power Cruiser Seamee II The Power Cruiser Seamee II

23/04/2017 The sinking and recovery of the classic power cruiser Seamee II highlights the continuing challenge of old vessels sinking at their berths and moorings. Beside the loss of floating heritage they also present an environmental hazard. Contributor John Buchanan shares his images of the recovery.


The Stranding of HMS Flora at Hornby Island BC. HMS Flora

20/04/2017 On December 5th, 1903 HMS Flora hit an uncharted submerged rock, settled in a basin of rocks and developed a list of 8° to starboard. The Captain claimed that a seagull on the buoy confused him, and the event hit the newspapers worldwide and articles recounted day by day events in her salvage.


The Restored Yacht Katie Mack Katie Mack

10/04/2017 The Katie Mack is the restored Hoaloha which was built in 1932 in Vancouver BC. She is now resident in Southwest Harbour ME USA and pictures are shared by her owner, Hugh Harwood.


The Norvan Celebrates 100 Years Norvan

04/04/2017 Contributor Kechura Davidson lived for many years on the Norvan beached in Tofino Harbour as a waterfront home. the Norvan is an ex–North Vancouver Ferry and tugboat. She raised a family there and shares her knowledge of the vessel.


Captain Duke Snider Duke Snider

02/04/2017 Captain Duke Snider has just recently become the President of the prestigious Nautical Institute. He is the first President to come from North America in it's history - an organization of global reach and a position impacting the professional lives of every Master Mariner in the world. He comes from Victoria BC and is focusing his professional energy on Polar Navigation issues.


The Sailing Ship Riversdale Riversdale

30/03/2017 The Hulk of the sailing ship Riversdale in the Royston Breakwater has an historic link to the writer Joseph Conrad.


Vessels Built by Western Canada Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. Western Canada Shipbuilding Co.

28/03/2017 A nominal list of vessels built by Western Canada Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. from the vessel database of The Nauticapedia.


The Kitimat II in a Now Forgotten Incident Kitimat II

23/03/2017 The Kitimat II was originally a Fisheries Patrol Vessel based on the north coast. In a now forgotten episode she went aground about 35 years ago in a dramatic incident that was recorded by Captain Alec Provan. We hope readers will be able to shed light on the details.


The Sailing Ship Pamir Pamir

17/03/2017 In 1905 the Sailing Ship Pamir was owned by Ferdinand Laeisz, Germany in service in the nitrate trade. In 1920 she was acquired by the Kingdom of Italy as a war reparation. She called at Vancouver after the Second World War flying the New Zealand flag. She was a beautiful ship which captured the imagination of British Columbians.


Vessels of the Oak Bay Marine Group in the Queen Charlotte Islands Oak Bay Marine Group

15/03/2017 The Oak Bay Marine Group famously operated a network of marinas, attractions and resorts on the British Columbia coast. Among their holdings were sport fishing motherships which carried outboard driven boats for day fishing which returned to the ships at night for client accomodation.


The Pixies Dream – A Shipbuilder’s Yacht Pixies Dream

08/03/2017 The Pixies Dream is a delightful small yacht built by a shipbuilder for himself. Contributor Captain Tony Toxopeus shares an image when he encountered this little vessel during his work as a Marine Surveyor.


Vessels Built by Harris Built Products Ltd. Harris Built Products Ltd.

01/03/2017 Harris Built Products Ltd. was a small vessel fabricator based in Lantzville BC. They specialized in boom boats for the logging industry.


Ice Monitoring During Arctic Petroleum Exploration Arctic Ice Monitoring

01/03/2017 Arctic ice monitoring is one of the many challenges faced in Arctic industrial operations. Contributor Robert Nimmo shares some of his experiences in the Greenland Strait and the Beaufort Sea during the Arctic Oil Play of the 1970s.


The Deep Sea Salvage Tug Snohomish Snohomish

28/02/2017 The deep sea salvage tug Snohomish started her career with the US Government before her purchase by Island Tug & Barge Co. She was involved in many famous salvage operations before sailing to Argentina while towing a barge with six ex–US Army tugs inside – a world record at the time.


The Log Barge Island Titan Island Titan

24/02/2017 Contributor Cliff Craig tells about working on and with the log barge Island Titan in Nootka Sound. The author worked as an entrepreneur in a wide range of marine occupations during a long and interesting career. The big log barge mysteriously disappeared shortly before she was going to be transferred to a new owner.


Vessels Owned by the Hillier Family Hillier Family Vessels

18/02/2017 Contributor Brent Sohier shares a personal story of fishing vessels owned by members of the Hillier Family including the Manhattan II, the Manhattan No. 1 and the Hillier Queen.


The Search for British Columbia's Oldest Floating Heritage Search for British Columbia's Oldest Floating Heritage

14/02/2017 The search for the oldest vessel afloat in British Columbia is a difficult and complicated subject. The list is constantly shifting as vessels disappear and as the wrangle over defining terms such as afloat, or oldest vessel creates debate and disagreement. I would argue that just recently shifting an ancient vessel into BC waters does not create a new entry to the claimant list but that is only an opinion. Here is my attempt to establish the list of oldest vessels for consideration.


Featured Reference Tables:

The Nominal List of Members of the Royal Naval Canadian Volunteer Reserve (RNCVR)

PosterNominal List of Members of the Royal Naval Canadian Volunteer Reserve (RNCVR)

Did your grandfather serve in the Canadian Navy during the First World War? To participate in the First World War naval effort Canada formed the Royal Naval Canadian Volunteer Reserve (RNCVR) which filled out the forces needed to make the navy operational. This is a nominal list of 7,500 of the more than 8,000 who served as members of this organization. There is no publicly available list of members and this represents the result of more than 25 years of research through publicly available sources to produce this one. Each entry is linked to the biography database so interested viewers can see what we have for each name.


Canada’s Naval Aviators

Canada’s Naval AviatorsRobbie Hughes

Few Canadians know about the Royal Canadian Navy’s contribution to Naval Aviation. More than 2,000 Canadians and some other naval aviators who served in Canada comprised this group. Originally published in print by John MacFarlane and Robbie Hughes, more than 25 years ago, this list is now revised and available to visitors to The Nauticapedia.


The Royal Canadian Naval Reserve University Naval Training Division (UNTD)

UNTD Nominal Lists

The definitive Nominal List for the University Naval Training Division (UNTD) of the Royal Canadian Naval Reserve contains the names of almost 7,000 former members and details of their service. Other lists detail the former members known to be deceased and a list of former members who achieved positions of note in their civilian or military careers.


Canada’s Admirals & Commodores

Canada’s Admirals & CommodoresBook Cover

Canada has a rich naval heritage which tends to have a low public profile. To the detriment of the Navy and our awareness of our national culture and history, Canada’s naval contribution in two World Wars, the Korean conflict and the many United Nations and NATO operations is hidden from public view. The great contribution of the navy is both interesting and important – but it is difficult for history lovers to access the information.


New Nauticapedia Book Just Published!

Volume Four in series

The Nauticapedia List of British Columbia's Floating Heritage Volume Four

Book — British Columbia's Floating Heritage
For more information …

Site News: May 13th, 2017

Databases have been updated and are now holding 49,765 vessel histories (with 4188 images) and 57,500 mariner biographies (with 3397 images).


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