Aiding and Abetting* at Pulteney Point c. 1970

Aiding and Abetting* at Pulteney Point c. 1970

* see Wikipedia for a definition

Pulteney Point - photo John Morris

One of our responsibilities as a lighthouse keeper was to assist mariners in distress. This was not a written rule. The written rule was to maintain the light and foghorn.

There was one stipulation in our Rule Book where we could assist a mariner who ran out of gas or diesel by supplying them with enough fuel, free of charge, to get them to the next port of call where they could purchase their own.

One evening Walt Tansky, my boss on Pulteney Point at the time, was interrupted by a knock at the door and saw a young man there who informed him that he had run out of gas and could he get enough to get him to Port Hardy. Walt said he remarked that Port McNeil or Sointula was closer, but the man said he had just come from Alert Bay and was heading north.

Walt nodded and gave him a tankful for his outboard and oil for the mix. The man waved and left.

Next morning the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) from Alert Bay were on the beach in their boat asking if we had seen such and such a boat and a man matching this description. I didn’t know anything so took them up to Walt’s house where they stayed awhile.

After they left Walt told me that the boat was stolen and the police were still looking for it. It never occurred to Walt until later that he should have asked the man why he hadn’t filled up before he left Alert Bay.

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Retired (2001) British Columbia lighthouse keeper after 32 years on the lights.

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