Did you know that B.C. is home to what is believed to be the oldest remaining wooden steam tug anywhere in the world? The tug is SS Master, and we’re hosting a special virtual event celebrating this incredible vessel. SS Master: The First 100 Years on March 18, 2021 at 7:00 p.mwill feature a presentation by two members of the SS Master Society, Barry A. Martens and Robert G. AllanThese gentlemen are dedicated to the maintenance and restoration of this iconic BC tugboat.   

Barry Martens will talk about SS Master’s humble origins. The Master’s keel was laid in 1922 and the boat was delivered the same year. Boats of the Master’s type were often commissioned and built and in six to nine months. Martens will describe the Master’s basic construction and talk about the types of work she did. He’ll also review the transfers of ownership from 1922 to today and talk about SS Master’s close ties to Vancouver. SS Master was not only built in False Creek, much of the material used in the ship’s construction is also local. SS Master is made from local timber and some of the cast products came from a local foundry. 

The presentation will include the screening of a short video Onboard SS Master by David Bradford, a visual tour of some of the unique features of  the vessel. The video will provide a glimpse of the engine, the boiler, the wheelhouse and more 

At nearly 100 years old, SS Master needs restoration. Robert G. Allan will talk about the SS Master Centenary Project.  He’ll cover some of the work already done, the docking and cleaning services recently donated by Seaspan, and give an overview of what still needs to happen. The SS Master Society intends to use the project as a training ground for wooden boat repair. This ambitious project includes repairs of the triple expansion steam engine, bulwark and deck reconstruction, a refit of steampipes, deck machinery and much more. 

As a learning tool, this project has a lot to offer. According to Barry Martens, who has been boating for most of his adult life, when you work on SS Masteryou become attached to the vessel. Martens joined the SS Master Society seven years ago, and he says nothing is better than putting on his overalls to work on the boat.  Crawling about the ship and in the engine room, especially while underway,” he says, “has given me a special understanding the Master. 

Robert G. Allan knows a thing or two about tugs. A third generation Vancouver naval architect, he’s been designing commercial workboats of all types for 50 years and is internationally recognized as an authority on escort tug and specialized workboat design. 

This talk is a rare opportunity to learn about one of the most unique vessels in B.C. Tickets are $25. Please also consider joining the SS Master Society for just $30 and get your ticket free. The membership option is shown below the adult ticket cost in the ticket purchase window.Increased Society membership is essential to the restoration fundraising effort. All proceeds for this event go to the SS Master Society.