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Fireboats and Controversy

Learn about Vancouver’s fiery past


Learn about the tragedy that ended a decades-old argument and culminated with the cooperation of fireboats on the coast to ensure the safety of our waterfront. 

Prior to 1992, arguments raged between the City of Vancouver and its neighbouring municipalities about the financial responsibility for commissioning fireboats on our coast. This disagreement culminated in the retirement of fireboat J.H. Carlisle in 1973 and the sale of Vancouver Fireboat No.2 in 1989, leaving the waterfront unguarded and in a vulnerable position. 

After the disastrous fire at the Coast Guard’s Kitsilano Base in 1991, the surrounding cities and municipalities finally reached an agreement and forged a partnership based on the priority of keeping the waterfront safe and secure.  

Come check out the whole story and see the historic remains of Vancouver’s fireboat history.  

Our Fireboats exhibit was made possible by:  

  • Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services (Fire Chief Ray Holdgate, Battalion Chief Alex Matches, Captain Rob Jones-Cook, Fire Fighter Ryan Cameron) 
  • Harbour and Shipping Magazine 
  • Murray D. McLellan 
  • Maritime Museum of BC 
  • Terminal City Ironworks 
  • Vancouver City Archives 
J.H. Carlisle fighting a fire
Kitsilano Coast Guard
Contact us

(604) 257-8300



Monday - Sunday
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Statutory Holidays (excluding Christmas): 10:00 am to 5:00 pm


1905 Ogden Ave.
Vancouver, BC
V6J 1A3

CRA# 119261147 RR0001

Board of Trustees