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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 participate in an on–going discussion of British Columbia’s Nautical History should consider joining the British Columbia Nautical History Facebook group. This is a friendly and active on–line discussion group that shares photographs, information and first–hand knowledge. Check it out and join up.
Recent Featured Articles:Captain George A. MacFarlane Faces an Incident of Live Shot in the Second World War
07/10/2014 During the Second World War there were incidents involving coast defence forces and local shipping that were sometimes amusing, dangerous and potentially disastrous. Anxious to carry out their orders and duties, army forces attempted to enforce procedures and regulations. Some areas were closed to shipping or were strictly controlled. Some skippers were disdainful of these efforts and caused army commanders to over-react. One prominent tug skipper was fired upon off the coast of Vancouver Island and complained in a Letter to the Editor afterwards.
Bo (Bosun) Spiller – Shipwright and Craftsman
28/09/2014 Bo Spiller is a young shipwright operating Commodore’s Boats at Shelter Island Marina in Richmond BC. He has already accumulated a colourful history in and around boats. He has learned skills through the "hands on method" directly from established shipwrights and from developing techniques and approaches on his own. Now he has been taking on some large rebuilds and a thriving repair and maintenance business. He may be unique in having the actual first name "Bosun" which surely has led him into his chosen career.
Some Sketches of Interesting Canadian Naval Personalities
21/09/2014 While many personnel of the Royal Canadian Navy have distinguished themselves in their naval careers a number have stood out in other aspects of their lives as larger than life "personalities" in their own right.
14/08/2014 The fishboat seascape was built by Barry Rolston’s father – Robert C. Rolston. The boat is still afloat, nearly sixty years later. Barry Rolston, nautical historian and past President of the Maritime Museum of British Columbia, in Victoria, shares some images and memories of this beautiful vessel.
Guide to Fishing Licence Codes Seen on Canadian Vessels
21/07/2014 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.
Rainbows At Sea
14/07/2014 On the east coast of central Vancouver Island it is easy to see rainbows. The showery weather, followed by sunny periods, so often associated with the Pacific coast of Canada, is the cause. Late in the day rising air lifts water vapour following rain creates the conditions necessary to create a rainbow.
RCN Ships Present Off the Juno Beach (Normandy) on June 6/7/1944 (D–Day Landings)
01/06/2014 Commander Fraser McKee presents a complete listing of all the RCN Ships Present Off Juno Beach in the Normandy landings on June 6&7, 1944 (D–Day Landings)
Some Early Sport Salmon Fishing
28/05/2014 Naval ships at anchor up the British Columbia coast at anchor at the end of an operational day provided a venue for some recreational fishing at the end of the day or on the weekend. In the 1940s to 1960s this was a widespread activity among naval personnel on the Pacific coast. The rise in popularity of sport fishing after the Second World War and the increasing availability of salt water sport fishing gear enabled many more amateur anglers to go salmon fishing. Some individuals such as Chief Petty Officer 1st Class, R.E. ‘Dick’ James RCN were instrumental in getting competitive sport fishing going in the RCN.
Traditional Western Arctic Ocean Seamanship Skills
14/05/2014 Captain Sven Johansson was the first person in history to conquer the North West Passage from West to East in a yacht. It took him five years (it was back when the Arctic Ocean still had lots of ice). He spent years before that working in vessels in a very hostile Arctic marine environment. Along the way he absorbed a great deal of traditional knowledge and understanding of special seamanship skills from his Banks Island friends. He shares some of this with us in this article.
Featured Reference Tables and Lists:
The Royal Canadian Naval Reserve University Naval Training Division (UNTD)
- UNTD –Nominal List (pdf) Updated 09/08/2014
- UNTD –VIP List (Alphabetical (pdf)) Updated 13/09/2013
- UNTD –VIP List (Titles (pdf)) Updated 13/09/2013
- UNTD –Deceased (Alphabetical List (pdf)) Updated 09/08/2014
- UNTD –Deceased (Chronological List (pdf)) Updated 09/08/2014
Bill Clearihue has developed and updated a definitive Nominal List for the University Naval Training Division (UNTD) of the Royal Canadian Naval Reserve which contains the names of almost 6,000 former members and details of their service. Other lists available from him 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. Clearihue will update these lists from time–to–time and they will be updated on this site.
Canada’s Admirals & CommodoresCanada’s Admirals & Commodores
14/05/2014 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. In 1994 John MacFarlane published the first edition of Canada’s Admirals and Commodores (ISBN #0–09693001–2–3). Since that time we have been maintaining updates to the entries in that publication as well as tracking names of all new appointments as they are announced.
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New Nauticapedia Book Just Published!
Volume Three in series
The Nauticapedia List of British Columbia's Floating Heritage Volume Three
For more information …
Site News: July 6th, 2014
Databases have been updated and are now holding 46,745 vessel histories (with 2,406 images) and 47,787 mariner biographies (with 2,884 images).