Nautical & Maritime Heritage

Guide to Fishing Licence Codes Seen on Canadian VesselsFishing Licences

Many Canadian commercial fishing vessels sport stickers with interesting codes. It is clear that they relate to fishing licences carried by the vessel – but what do they mean? Here is a list which will enable the casual observer to ‘decode’ them.


Charles M. Hays – A Titanic LossCharles Hayes

Contributor Lynn Salmon shares some history behind the statue of Charles Hayes that stands in Prince Rupert BC. It was his vision of a Pacific Terminus for his railway that led to the founding of the City. If he had not been killed in the sinking of the Titanic its possible that the City’s history might have been much different. Prince Rupert has experienced economic booms and busts – and the port is presently expanding.


Two Banknotes Featuring Ship EngravingsBanknote

Contributor Ronald Greene is a well known expert on banknotes and numismatics. In the days before the Bank of Canada assumed control of all banknote issues in Canada the Canadian chartered banks issued their own notes. To the delight of the collector, there was a wide variety of designs in use, many of them were extremely attractive. A good number of banknotes featured engravings, "vignettes" as they are called, are of ships or of nautical themes. Greene’s article discusses two related designs for banknotes of the Royal Bank of Canada, one issued, the other not. The two designs evoke some fascinating maritime history.


Ship Mail and Ship Post OfficesShip Mail and Ship Post Offices

Until airmail overtook ship–borne mail, ships were the only way to get letters across water. Stamp collectors sometimes specialize in the postal history of these services. British registered ships carrying mail used the title Royal Mail Ship and the initials ‘R.M.S.’ was employed in front of the ship’s name. A ship would use this prefix only while it was contracted to carry mail. A limited number of ships were given this designation.


Early Outboard Motorboat Racing in British ColumbiaOutboard Racing

In the period between the 1930s and the 1950s the racing of outboard notor boats was very popular in British Columbia.


Plimsoll’s Line (aka the International Load Line) – Saves LivesPlimsoll Mark

The Merchant Shipping Act of 1876 established the safety regulations for loading of ships, instigated by Samuel Plimsoll. Various lines indicating the level of the ship in various conditions (based on the specific gravity of the water) are indicated. (A ship will sink deeper in the water in warm areas of the tropics than in winter conditions in the North Atlantic.)


Restoring a Harold Gates Canoe – Keeping History AliveHarold Gates Canoes

Harold Gates was a builder of classic cedar strip canoes who was born in Middleton, Nova Scotia in the picturesque Annapolis Valley. He lived there his entire life and was the best known of the Maritime Canada canoe builders during his era. Contributing author Richard Howie chronicles the rebuilding of one of his Gates canoes in Kamloops, British Columbia by craftsmen Al McLean and Dave Lanthier.


Wreck: Flotsam, Jetsam & LaganReceiver of Wreck

Is salvage at sea a matter of finders keepers? Who looks after wreckage and goods washed up on shore? Or is it finders keepers?


The Ogden Point Breakwater at Victoria BCOgden Point

The Ogden Point Breakwater is comprised of roughly 10,000 granite blocks, weighing together over a million tons, were quarried at Hardy Island and shipped to Victoria for use in the breakwater and completed in 1916. Without it large freighters and passenger ships would not be able to access the Port of Victoria.


The Old Canadian Vessel Licensing Number SchemeLicence Number

Formerly pleasure craft carrying engines of more than 9.9hp were licensed. The licence alphanumeric was displayed on the bow of the vessel. This alphanumeric was generated from a geographical code table. The scheme has been replaced by a new system but the old alphanumerics will be in existence for some years before they disappear completely. A licensed vessel may be given a name, at the pleasure of the owner, but is officially known by its number. At one time there were a large number of ports at which vessels could be licensed. The ports in brackets are where the records were kept for the corresponding port.The ports in brackets are where the records were kept for some of the corresponding ports. Almost all of these records are no longer accessible or older record locations are unknown. Here is a key to deciphering the numbers.


Who's In Charge of These Waters?Waterfront Property Ownership

Determining the ownership of waterfront and the land under the ocean is a complicated business. Contributing author and property manager David Sheffield explains the factors that come into play in British Columbia.


Accretion on Waterfront Properties - What Does It Mean?Waterfront Property

A property negotiator and manager offers some thoughts on the changing shape of waterfront properties. Nothing is static – and an owner needs to be aware that changes in the shoreline over time can have more than visual consequences.


Comox Coast Guard Radio– Over One Hundred Years of HistoryAntenna

For more than 100 years Comox Coast Guard Radio has been providing vital services to mariners. One of the busiest marine and communications services (MCTS) centres in Canada, it provides 24 hour service.


HMS Egeria and Early Hydrography on Canada’s West CoastHydrography on Pacific Coast

In the early years hydrographic surveys were carried out by the Royal Navy. In 1910 this responsibility was transferred to Canada with the establishment of the Naval Service of Canada.


Cooking At Sea

It was definitely a matter of grim grub for sailors in the early sailing ships. What did they eat and drink and how was the food prepared? Did it taste good?


Searching For Pirate TreasureCocos Island

Who hasn’t dreamed of pirate treasure? There were actual pirates in the Pacific and they handled treasure. Where is it now, and why can’t we find it?


Maritime Graffiti on Pender Island BCCrossing the Line

On the cliff in Bedwell Harbour at Pender Island BC, in what is now part of the Gulf Islands National Park, it is still possible to make out the names of ships painted on the bare rock. Although it would now be considered as vandalism it was a common practice for vessels to leave calling cards on the water side of docks, in canal locks and on cliffs in anchorages.


Last Morse Code Radio Message From Sooke Coast Guard RadioSooke Coast Guard Radio

In 1992 the Canadian Coast Guard stopped transmission of Morse code messages from the Sooke Coast Guard Radio Station. It was a melancholy occasion for the operators.


The Monument to Captain James Cook RN at Kealakekua Bay HawaiiCaptain Cook Memorial

The background of the origin of the Monument to Captain James Cook RN at Kealakekua Bay Hawaii and some links back to Canada and other Commonwealth nations.


Some Thoughts on Collecting Nautical AntiquesNautical Antiques

When the decision to become an antique collector is made some good background information is needed to be successful. Collectors need to be more strategic than accumulators and make calculated decisions about what to buy and when to buy it.


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: July 8th, 2017

Databases have been updated and are now holding 50,143 vessel histories (with 4319 images) and 57,540 mariner biographies (with 3421 images).


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