SS Beaver Won’t be going to Mexico! Stays in Bay at Anchor!

SS Beaver in better times

SS Beaver in better times

The replica of the SS Beaver, lately tied alongside the now departed Dominion will not be going to Mexico for scrapping as was first thought.

It will remain at anchor in Cowichan Bay for the foreseeable future, keeping station out in the Bay at roughly the same spot where the Dominion once floated.

Legal issues have tied it to Canadian waters. Apparently the current owner is not in a position to be able to sell and rolls of red tape are now holding the decaying tourist vessel in our bay as securely as a couple of ten ton anchors.

Speaking of anchors, it’s one of the anchors off the Dominion I, fitted with new chain that’s doing the job of keeping the SS Beaver on station. As part of departure agreements, salvage tug owner Robert Van Ritter removed the Beaver from the dock and placed it on it’s current mooring, at his own expense.

Van Ritter who removed the Dominion and a former US Marines repair shop barge in the first minutes after midnight, morning of June 22nd, has no legal right to take the Beaver in tow much as he would have liked  to. Scrap iron is scrap iron after all, and while beaver may look like a dilapidated old wooden side wheeler, it is in fact a steel hulled former navy vessel in disguise.

The replica Beaver was built in 1966 by the Royal Canadian Navy from a disused ammo carrier. The vessel is made of steel, with the wooden planking fastened to a metal framework which is welded to the hull exterior. The effect was to mimic the look of the original SS Beaver, the first steam powered ship to work our West Coast.

The project was the Navy’s contribution to the celebration of the Colonial Union Centennial Celebrations of Vancouver Island and the colony on mainland British Columbia.

We have our own Pirate Ship!

We have our own Pirate Ship!

The replica SS Beaver carried political leaders and citizens to the original Beavers ports of call up and down the coast and the Gulf of Alaska. Then, with festivities over, the ship began a wandering journey, as a series of different owners interacting with the ship over the years.

Fort Langley took an interest and bought the ship, then Embyn Enterprises, and later Georgia Towing.

Her next owner, Colleen Whitney, had her refit with more creature comforts, and operated a successful charter business with Captain Anchaeus at the helm.

In 1986 Beaver was sold once again and refitted for the Expo 86 celebrations, when she carried celebrities and dignitaries to various functions. In 1995 another owner took charge and brought her to Victoria. A successful business was run in that city for five years.

In 2001 she was laid up and was dormant for 3 years until 2004. Called on once more, this time for the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010, Beaver received a spit shine and was again ready to do duty.

Recent spending reached $1,000,000 with her solid steel bottom being re certified and her upper works having undergone major renovations for a planned cruising schedule.

What happened after that, is anyone’s guess. The cruises failed to materialize, the vessel is once more in lay-up mode and parked here in Cowichan Bay, a most unlikely replacement for the Dominion I.

The pigeons will have a field day, the thieves and vandals who wrecked the Dominion I and who stole everything not nailed down, including the fuel will have a new target and those who were angry with Dominion being in the Bay will now have something new to complain about.

Isn’t life interesting?

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  1. Up Hill Viewer
    June 22nd, 2013 at 14:01 | #1

    You have bloody well got to be kidding. Please. Tell me you are kidding. We get rid of one blankety blank eyesore only to inherit another? I say tow that piece of crap out of the bay and dispose of it properly. Do it today.

  2. June 22nd, 2013 at 16:54 | #2

    Thanks for your informative piece of writing. I wonder whether it’ll ever be used again. It is a very interesting contraption with a history to match and I have no problem seeing that ship when looking out over the bay. It looks good.

  3. From the bay viewer
    June 24th, 2013 at 16:33 | #3

    Have any of you who overlook the bay bothered to check out the view from the water. Talk about an eyesore! Ugly condos and Mcmansions littering the hillside. I say, Demolish all those pieces of crap and dispose of them properly! Do it today.

  4. September 12th, 2013 at 11:20 | #4

    It is an interesting ship. I was able to get close to it yesterday with a kayak while paddling with 15 others. Photos have been posted and shared on Facebook so interest should increase. I suggest mooring it a have tourists check her out. This to pay for docking fees and repairs. The history is impressive for this ship.

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