What Do They Do With an Old Coast Guard Boat?

The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) has had many ships since it began – the old and the new.

CCG is constantly replacing old ships with a newer version as is mentioned below:

Newest Canadian Coast Guard ship named for fallen soldier Jun 09, 2014 

ccgs-corporal-mclaren

The 43-metre CCGS Corporal McLaren M.M.V.  — named for Cpl. Mark McLaren — was formally presented in Dartmouth on Monday. (CBC)

but what does the CCG do with the old ships? Many are sold for scrap (eg CCGS Camsell) but this man found out what he wanted to do with one that was decommissioned:  Continue reading

Hijack!

The hijack of a ship on the British Columbia (BC) coast is a rare possibility, but with all the controversy over oil spills and destruction of coastal rain forests, the possibility is still there for terrorists or others to hijack a ship on the BC coast and hold the government for ransom.

In the rest of the world, piracy, or hijacking of a ship, is not unknown and shipping companies have had to find many ways to keep their ships safe. Speed is one method, but a fully-loaded freighter does not go very fast.

Today, October 17, 2013, a new website for me, Marine Insight, mentioned:

Infographics: Anti-Piracy Weapons Used on Ships

Anti-piracy-infographic

Anti-piracy-infographic

Continue reading

Reprint – DFO Shutting Down Coast Guard Radio Stations, but Prince Rupert’s Will Be Expanded

 

I wrote an article on January 04, 2012 entitled MCTS To Lose Staff To Save Money. After that date, the department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO or F&O) have changed their plans. They are now closing whole stations instead of a removing a few men! The news article below is well written and explains what is planned for the BC coast. If all goes through we will have only two (2) MCTS stations on the whole BC coast, relying on mountaintop repeaters to reply to ships at sea.

I can also see soon that their plans will include again trying to de-staff the lighthouses. Pretty soon the whole BC coast will be bare of any support for boaters!

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By Alan S. Hale – The Northern View
Published: May 18, 2012 4:00 PM
Updated: May 18, 2012 4:59 PM

The Coast Guard communication monitoring station in Prince Rupert will be even more important to ensuring the safety of seafarers. The Prince Rupert station will be one of only two “modernized” coast guard stations in the entire province – the other one being in Sydney. Continue reading

You Just Thought Moving Was a Pain!

#1 McInnes Island - photo Rob Desmanche

#2 McInnes Island - photo Mike Mitchell

Let’s face it, nobody likes moving. All the packing, loading, carrying, lifting, unpacking. There’s probably nothing more unpleasant to go through, even when you’re moving to a better place and looking forward to moving in.

#3 Loading under the highline

#4 Bonnet slings

But try compounding that with the almost insurmountable obstacle of living on an island. Not just any island, but a remote island with no ship docking facilities, and no aircraft facilities beyond a helicopter pad. That’s

#5 Work crew helping

#6 Work crew place snotters on the crates

exactly what a

friend of mine was doing here. Glenn is a member of the Canadian Coast Guard, and was at the time the principal lighthouse keeper at McInnes Island Lightstation, but had received orders for a change of station. Check out these aerial views of the island he lived on. (photos #1 & #2)

Yeah, you just thought moving was a pain. Glenn provided me with a little photo-essay to show us what he went through, and I decided to share it with you. The thoughts and sentiments are his, and the photos illustrate the story well. Continue reading

Life on Nootka Lighthouse c. 1950s

Here is another story from Ms. Juanita (Swanson) DuLong. She was a young girl on most of these stations, but living there, and hearing stories from her parents, she has created   lighthouse memories from the 1950s time. Her older stories are found herehere and here. One more to come she says. 

It is said that for every person on earth, there is a place our soul will recognize as home.

Nootka lighthouse

Sometime in 1955, I was lucky enough to find that Nootka was mine. Ever since, no
matter where or how I was living, I went home whenever possible. Today, my husband
and I live on the West coast of Vancouver Island, not far from Nootka Island.

Nootka Lighthouse is picturesque, with 360 degree views of scenery. The area is steeped in history, being the true birthplace of B.C. Brick fragments are still sometimes found from the Spanish fort that so long ago enjoyed those same views.

But , I wasn’t yet ten years old, and history wasn’t uppermost in a little girl’s mind. Continue reading

Life on Pine Island c. 1950s

Here is another story from Ms. Juanita (Swanson) DuLong. She was a young girl on most of these stations, but living there, and hearing stories from her parents, she has created   lighthouse memories from the 1950s time. Her older stories are found here and here.

Her husband Roy scanned some nice photos of Pine Island station, but unfortunately they are way too small to show here. When he has time to make larger ones, I will add them.

Roy sent some more scans, but they are limited, but I have posted them because they show details not available before – e.g. the A-frame highline setup.

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Pine Island houses - photo Juanita Swanson

There may be somewhere in the world a place foggier than Pine Island lighthouse, but it’s hard to believe. The horn was often on for days on end, and became only another background noise. A lighthouse tender could arrive in clear weather, and radio that Pine was under a doughnut of fog. Continue reading

Let’s Play Russian Roulette with the Spirit Bear

You all know my feelings about the Enbridge Pipeline project (aka Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines) currently being proposed for British Columbia. I am definitely against it. During my years on the BC lighthouses I saw many examples of poorly managed mines and fisheries. Let us stop this one before it gets started and one oil spill creates havoc on our beautiful BC coast. Please read this student’s opinion. – retlkpr

Posted by  from the Bishop’s University Student Newspaper

March 1, 2012 9:24 pm

Sure, they’re irreplaceable, but who cares?

We all like oil, because we like the benefits that come from oil: like our heat and our gasoline.  But we’re all hypocrites, because we don’t like to see the oil, pay for it, or sacrifice our lifestyles for it. —more

Click for larger image

Development of the Canadian Icebreaker

I was writing an article that contained a reference to the CCGS Camsell, a Coast Guard icebreaker, and I got to wondering how many people knew about the history of the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) ice breakers. Thanks to the generosity of the CCG website I have been given permission to reproduce their material here. It is a very interesting story.

The following article is reproduced with the permission of the Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada, 2012

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USQUE AD MARE
A History of the Canadian Coast Guard and Marine Services
by Thomas E. Appleton

Development of the Canadian Icebreaker

We have already noted the influence of the Prince Edward Island winter service on the building of passenger vessels able to navigate in ice, ranging from the underpowered and ineffective Northern Light of 1876 to the handsome cruising ship Earl Grey of 1909. The main business of these ships was to maintain communications. While this evolution was unfolding, the problem of flood control on the St. Lawrence demanded attention. From earliest times ice floating down had formed an annual dam between Montreal and Quebec, causing flooding as it built up and further damage to ships when it gave way. In an attempt to control this process by keeping the ice on the move, a requirement now arose for ships whose primary role was to break ice rather than to maintain communications. As a secondary role, which Canadian icebreakers must have to provide an economic year round usage, there was plenty of work to be done in support of aids to navigation.

CCGS N.B. McLean working in the St. Lawrence.

Continue reading

The Vanlene and I

I received the following email the other day promoting an article on a friend’s website: 

The freighter Vanlene ran up on the rocks on Austin Island in the Broken Group islands on March 14, 1972. She was carrying 300 Dodge Colt automobiles while enroute to Vancouver BC from Japan. The crew was rescued and taken to Port Alberni. How she ended up on the rocks is still a matter of conjecture but it appears that the Master simply did not know where he was at the time of impact (he thought he was off of the coast of Washington) and his navigational aids were inoperable. See the article at Nauticapedia


View Larger Map Continue reading

Groceries and Mail on a Lighthouse

Groceries being loaded at Coast Guard Base - photo John Coldwell

Some of you may wonder why the number of stories about re-supplying the lighthouses exceeds the others on this site by a large margin (lots more coming!). Next to the family and job, the arrival of the mail and groceries was the most important event in the life of the lightkeeping family. 

Imagine no telephone, no television, no two-way radio, possibly no AM radio, and no contact with the outside world except what you saw going by your window. The post was and still is the most important contact to the real world.  Continue reading