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 Wreck of the Gulf Stream Gulf Stream

25/06/2017 The former Second World War era RCN armed yacht HMCS Wolf was converted to passenger service but soon after going into operation met disaster at Dinner Rock when she was wrecked. Many people visited the site to take pictures. The co–author’s father took two interesting closeups which we share.

The Classic Power Cruiser Aileen Aileen

21/06/2017 The Classic Power Cruiser Aileen was typical of a beautiful but expensive power yacht on the British Columbia coast. She was later designated a a Vintage Vessel by the Maritime Museum of British Columbia.

Sooke Fish Traps Sooke Fish Traps

16/06/2017 Contributor Doug MacFarlane, a veteran Sooke tug boat man, shares an image of the fish trap that once operated at Sooke BC. In his youth he was a watchman on the trap. This style of fish harvesting is no longer used but was once common on the BC coast.

Sooke Fishcamp Disaster Fish Camp Disaster

14/06/2017 Contributor Doug MacFarlane, a veteran Sooke tug boat man, shares some images and the story behind a Nelson Brothers fish camp that sank will in tow. He prevented the situation from getting worse by taking it in tow.

The Tug Billmor Stuck in Ice Billmor

12/06/2017 Contributor Jane Gardner shared some family images of the tug Billmor stuck in the ice, apparently in the Skeena River. Her mother kept a photo album from her time working in canneries and she thinks the pictures of the tug are somehow linked to this time.

The Seiner Mary Todd aka the Boat That Wouldn’t Die Mary Todd

09/06/2017 Contributor Drew Clark bought the Mary Todd and operated her at the end of her life. He shares her long history and shares a number of photographs recording a vessel now gone from the marine scene.

The Tug and Former Naval Vessel Restless Restless

04/06/2017 The Restless was 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 Cableship Cable Innovator Cable Innovator

01/06/2017 The Cableship Cable Innovator is berthed in Victoria BC. She is on standby in case of disruption of service in undersea cables in the northeast Pacific. Contributor Captain Alec Provan shares images he captured during a recent visit to the vessel.

The Wreck of the Freighter Guerrero Wreck of the Guerrero

30/05/2017 A mystery wreck at Mazatlan Mexico of a freighter, possibly involving salvage by the B.C. Salvage Co.

The Sternwheeler Wanda Sue Stiff Leg Mooring

28/05/2017 Freshwater nautical heritage is usually eclipsed by the saltwater versions. Richard Howie is a keen observer in British Columbia’s interior. He shares his discovery of a sternwheeler on the Thompson River berthed in a different style in front of the owner’s home.

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.

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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