SS Master and the Early Tugboats of B.C.

Every student in the province should know about the critical role tugboats played in the settler history of coastal British Columbia.  What better way to get students excited about tugboats than by introducing them to the oldest operating steam-powered wooden-hulled tug in the world?

On Wednesday April 13 at 10:30 a.m. we’re offering a free virtual presentation for grade 7-12 students, The SS Master and the Early Tugboats of B.C.

Robert Allan, an expert on tugs, will talk about what tugboats and barges do, particularly in British Columbia. He’ll talk about the design of the Master, which was built on the shores of False Creek 100 years ago.

This presentation will also include a virtual tour of the St. Roch. Students will explore the spaces below the ship’s deck such as the foc’sle, cargo hold, battery and engine rooms and learn how they are similar or different to the SS Master. The St. Roch, a National Historic Site on view at the VMM, was built in B.C. and was the first vessel to traverse the Northwest Passage from west to east.

Robert Allan will also talk about what it takes to be a ship designer, and he’ll look at the changing world of ship design and ship building. The Master was steam-powered, but that technology soon gave way to diesel engines in the 1940s and 1950s. And the boats of the future, how will they be powered? Sign up to find out.

Presenter Robert Allan is the Executive Chairman of Robert Allan Ltd, a world leader in high-performance tugboat design for ship-handling, terminal support, and tanker escort duty. He is also a member of the SS Master Society, an organization dedicated to the preservation of the Master.  Mr. Allan is passionate about ship design and is excited to be able to share his knowledge with young people.


Date: Wednesday April 13, 2022

Time: 10:30 a.m.

Place: this presentation will be held on Zoom

Tickets: Free  (registration is required)


We encourage you to sign up your whole class. We want to accommodate as many people as possible. When you register, please sign up for the number of students in your class. In the comments, please provide an estimate of how many computers will be logging in.