It has always been my habit to carry, in my boat’s library, copies of the Canada List of Shipping (in two volumes) formerly published by Transport Canada until 2003. These eight by eleven volumes in powder blue covers, (Volume I covered ships, and Volume II covered fishing vessels), gave us a great deal of insight in to the history of the vessels we passed on our trips up the coast. Indeed, the information they provided was often the definitive answer to settle many arguments, and a few wagers. I still carry the last of these editions on board my vessel. No, however, they will be augmented by these new volumes.
The publication of the Nauticapedia lists on British Columbia’s floating heritage is in fact an improvement on these Government volumes as they give a more complete history of the vessels than did the original Government publications and there smaller format is more convenient on a small ship or yacht. Hopefully they will whet your appetite for further research into the history of some of the vessels that catch your eye.
British Columbians should be aware that eight percent of the province’s GDP is directly the result of shipping and the marine industries, all of our prosperity and lifestyle is dependent on it. Our development on this coast for millennia has been associated with marine transport, from long before the Europeans contacted with the First Nations. Understanding the history of the coast is essential for yachtsmen, and I would argue, for professionals, to increase the enjoyment we receive from our travels along it, be they for pleasure, or in the course of our work. An appreciation of the ships we pass is part of this understanding, there purpose and history.
I commend John MacFarlane for his dedication in the production of this series, enabling us to research immediately as we travel along, out of range of our cell phone and wifi.
John West Chair, The Maritime Museum of British Columbia, Victoria BC
Footnote: Volumes 1 and 2 are for sale in the Maritime Museum of British Columbia’s gift shop with proceeds going to support the museum.
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