Towboats have been a part of British Columbia's history since 1836, when the Hudson's Bay Company's ungainly sidewheeler S.S. Beaver made the first powered tow up the coast. Over the years, tugs and their crews have towed just about everything, including food, machinery, rocks, paper, oil, salt, lumber, oil rigs, deep-sea ships, cars and houses. The humble but admirable tug has kept BC's marine economy vital and industrious.
From the Wheelhouse captures the ins and outs of working in this often overlooked but important industry: relentless tides, wild weather, breakaway barges, the boredom, the practical jokes, superstitions, camaraderie and the agony of a failed rescue attempt.
Author and historian Doreen Armitage interviewed 16 old-time tugboat captains, engineers and deckhands to assemble this intimate and often hair-raising account of life aboard BC tugs. Tugs are called to emergencies on the water, working with the Coast Guard and fireboats to save lives and retrieve damaged vessels. Storms, fog, riptides and whirlpools, bridges, even other boats operated by inexperienced or careless hands can put a tug and its crew in jeopardy.
Beautifully illustrated with archival photos and images from the personal collections of the skippers who appear within its pages, From the Wheelhouse is both a lively, personal look at the history of towboating in BC and an engaging portrait of the famous coastal characters and vessels that have shaped this region's maritime history.
"Active and retired tug skippers tell their stories. Includes tales of the steam tug era, everyday life on the boats (including some great, monotony-relieving pranks), the challenging weather; mishaps, rescues, salvages and the 'unexpected.' Dozens of great photos of the tugs and crews al work. Highly recommended!"
." . . excellent archival photos and just the right amount of detail and variety in these records of tugboating to capture our interest. . . . a charming review of a world that is very much part of the West Coast . . ."
-Martyn Clark, Victoria Times-Colonist
"Step into the lives of the industry's most colourful characters and greatest heroes as well as ordinary captains and crew. [Armitage] captures the romance, danger and day-to-day experiences of a sector of the marine industry that most people know little about."
"It is a beautiful book, lovely and well done."
-Barb Pope, Mulberry Bush Books
"Doreen Armitage, a Vancouver-area boater and writer, knows how tugboat captains, deckhands and engineers keep their cool in cramped quarters, dangerous waters and dodgy weather."
"Whenever a historian is also a good storyteller, you can be assured that an excellent book will result. From the Wheelhouse is a good read."
-Coast Reporter--Reviews for From the Wheelhouse
Introduction; All Fired Up for Steam; Life Aboard; Wind, Waves and Weather; Pleasure Craft, Bridges and Other Headaches; Rescues and Salvages; 'The White Light Went Out'; Biographies; Glossary; Index.
Number Of Pages: 182
Published: 1st September 2006
Publisher: Harbour Publishing
Country of Publication: CA
Dimensions (cm): 28.58 x 21.59
Weight (kg): 0.73