The Tug Boat J.W.P.

by John MacFarlane 2017


The tug J.W.P. Note the distinctive shamrock on the funnel, part of the livery of the MacFarlane Brothers vessels. (Photo from the John MacFarlane collection.)

The tug J.W.P. was built in 1920 at New Westminster BC. In 1941 she was renamed as Swiftsure II and in 1976 as Tusko. She was 60.0’ x 18.0’ x 8.7’ wooden hull 59gt 25rt She was powered by a 13nhp steam reciprocating oil-fired engine (1920). She was re–powered in In 1941 she was rebuilt and re–powered with a 9nhp diesel engine. In 1944 she was re–powered with a 300bhp diesel engine.


The tug J.W.P. (Photo from the John MacFarlane collection.)

In 1920–1927 the J.W.P. was owned by Joseph William Pike, Vancouver BC. In 1929 she was owned by MacFarlane Brothers Ltd. (Fred and Arthur MacFarlane), 118 Pemberton Bldg Victoria BC. In 1940 she was owned by Francis Arthur MacFarlane, 439 Richmond St, Victoria BC. In 1945–1951 she was owned by John Bruno, Vancouver BC. In 1953–1973 she was owned by Swiftsure Towing Co. Ltd., New Westminster BC. In 1974–1988 she was owned by Robert P. Sampson, Duncan BC.

George Allen, Douglas MacFarlane and Jessie Lamon

Leisure time aboard the J.W.P.: George Allen, Douglas MacFarlane (deckhand) and Jessie Lamon (Cook). (Photo from the Douglas MacFarlane collection.)

In 1929 she sailed chiefly out of Victoria to Vancouver Island’s west coast towing for Cathels and Sorenson Ltd., and independent loggers Lamont, Rutger, Baird, Frank Baker and John Quinn in the Port San Juan area. On August 5, 1930 she was grounded in the fog near Jordan River. She was refloated with the help of the tug Daring (Captain Fred MacFarlane).

In 1948 she towed a Davis Raft (25 million board feet) the largest ever towed into the Fraser River. On February 13, 1968 she was grounded on Mowat Reef. In 1973 she sank at Yuculta Rapids BC after grounding and she was salvaged and the crew rescued. In 1988 she was located in Maple Bay BC as a live aboard. Douglas MacFarlane reports that she was eventually sold to US interests.


The tug J.W.P. (Photo from the Nauticapedia collection. )

In 1921 they chartered–to–purchase the tug J.W.P.. They purchased the tug from Joseph William Pike and a Mr. Livingston and, in turn, sold the tug on to the newly incorporated MacFarlane Brothers Ltd. (located at 118 Pemberton Building, Victoria BC) in 1927. The J.W.P. sailed chiefly out of Victoria BC serving the west coast of Vancouver Island. They towed for Cathels & Sorenson Ltd. and for the independent loggers Rutger, Lomont & Bair, Frank Baker and the John Quinn Shingle Mill in the Port Renfrew area (Port San Juan BC). Later she towed for the Malahat Logging Co. out of Port Renfrew BC. In 1941 she was rebuilt at the Victoria Machinery Depot Ltd. and re–engined with a 360bhp Deutz diesel engine and renamed as the Swiftsure II. During the Second World War she was chartered to Bicknell & Byrns of Gulf of Georgia Towing and then to Armour Towing & Salvage Co. In 1947 Arthur MacFarlane sold her to John Bruno of Vancouver BC and she was again re–engined with a 450bhp Enterprise diesel engine for general towing. By 1974 she was a live–aboard at Maple Bay BC and renamed as the Tusko.

To quote from this article please cite:

MacFarlane, John M. (2017) The Tug Boat J.W.P. 2017.

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