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Vessels & ShipsThe Search for British Columbia’s Oldest Floating Heritage
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.Vancouver’s Fleet of Former US Navy APc Vessels
Contributor George Duddy has revised and updated his extensive list of Canadian vessels that were formerly serving in the US Navy. Following the war, the US Navy disposed of the small coastal transports. Eleven of these were eventually registered in Vancouver as Canadian vessels.
Western Canada’s Maritime War Dividend – The Military Vessels Converted for Civilian Use
Contributor George Duddy has substantially and extensively updated and re–written an earlier article by the late John Henderson on Converted Military Vessels. An influx of high quality military surplus vessels propelled the towing and transportation industry, and the forest and fishing industries and other commerce to a level that might not otherwise have been possible in British Columbia. Some of the vessels became private yachts. The vessels came mainly from the UK and USA with a few provided by the Canadian forces after the Second World War. Their purchase at low cost was indeed a small war dividend to the economy of a country that had contributed much in terms of lives and cost to war effort.
The Audrey B.
The Audrey B. began life in the rum running trade in 1928. Throughout her working life, continuing until the early 1960s, she did valuable work for various owners in all of Canada’s major oceans. In retirement she provided a nurturing home for a family in North Vancouver. It was the vessel’s remarkable success in the Arctic, in an environment apparently unsuitable to her design and construction, that drew contributor George Duddy’s attention to this storied vessel, particularly her achievement in forwarding supplies in a very difficult ice year that allowed Captain Scotty Gall to complete the first ever navigation of Bellot Strait of the Northwest Passage in 1937.
The Gillnetter Eva on Finn Slough BC
The Eva was built as a wooden gillnetter by the Suzuki boatyard for an owner who lived in the little community of Finn Slough on the Fraser River.
Stadacona – Yacht, Rum Runner and Naval Vessel
Stadacona was originally owned by J. Harvey Ladew a New York executive of the Singer Sewing Machine Company. In 1915 she was sold to Aemilius Jarvis for use by the Royal Canadian Navy as an armed yacht. In 1919 she was transferred to the west coast via the Panama Canal. In 1920 she was paid off to the Minister of Fisheries and Marine as a fisheries protection vessel. In 1924 she was owned by Central America Shipping Company, Vancouver BC. In 1924 she was owned by Ocean Salvage Co., Vancouver BC (Joseph W. Hobbs) and converted to a yacht and rum runner mother ship.
Voyage of the Amon–Re
Alan Butler sailed the little catamaran Amon–Re into the record books as Single–handed Circumnavigation in the Smallest Catamaran in History. Here is Alan butler’s first-hand account of the voyage.
The Secret Visit of the Queen Elizabeth
How do you hide a gigantic 85,000 ton ship in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and later drydocked in Esquimalt BC for 13 days? Impossible – but spread the word in wartime that "loose lips sink ships" and you have an entire population pretending not to notice. She was sent to North America to escape German bombing and eventually arrived off Esquimalt February 23, 1942.
The Grounding of the Empress of Canada at Albert Head
On the morning of October 13th, 1929 the large steamship Empress of Canada was approaching William Head to undergo inspection at the Quarantine Station she ran aground at Albert Head.
The Fore and Aft Schooner Casco
Of the thousands of vessels that have called British Columbia a home port the Casco had one of the most exotic backgrounds of any of them. Maritime heritage knows no boundaries and this story ties in themes from California, the South Seas, Alaska and Siberia. She was built c1878 in California as a yacht for Dr. Samuel Merritt of Oakland CA. She was opulently fitted out. In her time she was the yacht of Robert Louis Stevenson, a sealing vessel and a schooner trading into Siberia for furs.
A Revised List of Vessels Dismantled by Capital Iron and Metals Ltd.
A revised detailed list of the ships dismantled or scrapped by Capital Iron and Metals Ltd. in Victoria BC.
Careening The North Star of Herschel Island
Captain Sven Johansson, well-known Arctic mariner, employed traditional sailing ship techniques to clean and repair the bottom of his three-masted sailing vessel North Star of Herschel Island.
SEDCO FOREX JOIDES Resolution
The visit of a highly specialized deep sea drill ship to Victoria BC was an opportunity to explore a vessel that spends the majority of its life at sea exploring the ocean floor.
The Sailing Ship Moshulu In Esquimalt British Columbia
On May 28, 1935, the four–masted barque Moshulu was towed into Esquimalt harbor by two tugs, and entered the drydock for survey and bottom cleaning. After refit and refurbishment she was intended to resume her role as the largest commercial sailing ship in the world.
The History and Rebuilding of the Aix / Nan Lea
The Aix was, in turn, a cannery tender, a tug boat, a fish boat and a yacht. She was lovingly rebuilt by Ron Drinkwater who enjoyed her for several years. She’s still afloat, in good condition, after more than a century of service.
A Day in the Life of a BC Coaster (The Frances Barkley)
Contributor Marianne Scott offers a re–print of her article in the October 2013 issue of Pacific Yachting on the popular pocket cruise vessel Frances Barley that operates between Port Alberni BC and Barkley Sound and Bamfield BC.
British Columbia Nautical Fleet Lists
Alberta Nautical Fleet Lists
Saskatchewan Nautical Fleet Lists
Other Fleet Lists
New Nauticapedia Book Just Published!
Volume Four in series
The Nauticapedia List of British Columbia's Floating Heritage Volume Four
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).