In the 1960 the small boatyard at the south foot of Blenheim Street in Vancouver , was the home port for about 60 small commercial fish boats ! It had two marine railways that moved Trollers , Gillnetters and Cod Boats on shore , after the fishing season was over for the year . The mostly wooden boats , were lined up in neat rows on old farm land west of Blenheim Street , with their bows , always facing up the river !
Once jacked up and side slipped from the cradle , the skipper always had to pull off a small sheet lead patch , covering up a hull engine room Cedar garboard planking Bung or plug and this was to let the bilge water run out into a my dads new metal drum “Bilge water oil separator” ! All the fish boat skippers had to use Alf Slacks 1960ies oil separator ,my gosh it was a way a head of its time , being a new river friendly invention ! If those “Big Season or Just making it a Season” Fishers ” wanted to be land docked next season . they they had to use the Alfies bilge oil separator ! After having the fishboat taken out of the water ,the fisherpeople that had a good year , just disappeared to warmer climates and the not so lucky just stayed around to keep a eye on the dry-docked boat all winter long !
The last cold weather , usually at the end of March, brought out the Fisher peoples canvas tarps , out to protect the planking at the waterline of the boat , from the , Ya you got it , the Hot Drying out SUN ! Spring at last and copper painting had to be done below the waterline , with special attention given to net guards . stem Iron , rudder plate and skegs irons ! My dad and I made a few extra bucks , heating up and smacking off with a big sledge hammer , all the damaged propellers ! You are not going to believe this , but some skippers forgot to replace the cedar planking bung , lead patch and were launched ! There was always lots of screaming and swearing when the boat hit the water with a geyser shooting up in the engine room ! Get her back up , was the call from the embarrassed skipper !
The little shipyard at the end south end of Blenheim Street in Vancouver , has many sad and funny stories still to be told ! Its our Vancouver’s history and it would be very sad to loose it .so lets get on and tell it , the way it was , not so many years ago !