The Tug Boat and Former Naval Vessel Restless

by John MacFarlane 2017


The Restless (Photo from the Nauticapedia collection. )

In 1906 she was built at New Westminster BC. 71.0’ x 17.0’ x 7.0’ wooden hull 67gt 14rt She was powered by a 16nhp steam engine (coal fired).

In 1906 she was owned by Westminster Towing and Fishing Co., New Westminster BC. In 1908 she was sold for fishery patrol to the Minister of Marine and Fisheries, Ottawa ON as CGS Restless. In 1914 she was taken over by the Royal Canadian Navy and commissioned as H.M.C.S. Restless. In 1918 she served as training ship at the Royal Naval College of Canada Esquimalt BC. In 1919 she was owned by The Minister of Marine and Fisheries, Ottawa ON. In 1920 she was donated to the Navy League of Canada as a training ship. In 1908 she was converted to a naval tug for hydrographic studies. She served as a tender to the Canadian Hydrographic Service serving from 1920–1923. In 1927–1937 she was sold to MacFarlane Brothers Ltd., Victoria BC.

The Restless had been commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy during the First World War and for a time as HMCS Restless was the tender to the Royal Naval College of Canada when the College was based in Esquimalt BC. She was later employed as an examination vessel and then passed to the Canadian Hydrographic Service.


The tugs Restless and J.W.P. (Photo from the John MacFarlane collection.)

In 1928 MacFarlane Brothers Ltd. purchased the tug Restless (ON117159) from the Minister of Marine & Fisheries in Ottawa ON. The funnel on the Restless was painted green with a white band sporting a green shamrock (for the MacFarlane Brothers’ Irish origins). In 1932 she was sailed to Vancouver BC and lay alongside the big tug Haro at the B.C. Mills Timber & Trading Co. wharf (at the old Hastings Mill site) for a long period during the economic depression. She was eventually returned to Victoria and lay at her old berth at Murdie’s float in the Inner Harbour.

Early in 1933 she was fired up and sailed under Captain McPhee to Nanaimo for coal bunkering. When they reached Saanichton Bay they decided (probably due to running with a skeleton crew) to tie up for the night at the James Island wharf with the idea to sail the next morning for Nanaimo. During the night she caught fire and burned to the water’s edge and the engine and propeller were later salvaged and sold. Until 1952 the ship was mistakenly listed in the Canada Register of Shipping because no notice of the burning was submitted to cancel the registration.

To quote from this article please cite:

MacFarlane, John M. (2017) The Tug Boat and Former Naval Vessel Restless. 2017.

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