"Against Wind and Weather: The History of Towboating in British Columbia" (used book)

"Against Wind and Weather: The History of Towboating in British Columbia" (used book)

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Against Wind and Weather: The History of Towboating in British Columbia

by Ken Drushka


About the Book

Used Book. Hardcover. Dust jacket included. Good condition.


-- From the dust jacket

Towboats, the workhorses of international shipping, have special significance along North America’s northwest coast. The rich though often inaccessible resources there have given rise to one of the most innovative and important towboat industries in the world. This book is a history of that industry, and of its growth from the first steam tugs of the late 19th century to the sturdy and efficient diesel tugs of today.

The book begins with a look at the marine environment of British Columbia: its fogs, tricky tides and often dangerous tiderips and turbulent tidal currents. B.C.’s towing industry was born as the province’s natural resources – coal, forest products and fish – were developed. The first real tug, the Isabel, was built by a sawmill owner in 1866 at a cost of $50,000.

The early gold rushes brought thousands of people to the province, and the completion of the CPR in 1885 brought a surge of resource development. Since water transport was the most economical way to move large quantities of coal and timber around the area, towing emerged as a vital industry.

By the turn of the century, tugs were becoming specialized: there were large ship tugs, small harbour tugs and special tugs to tow barges, log booms and rafts. The tugs built now are sophisticated, high-powered vessels, and there are even self-loading, self-propelled and self-dumping barges.

Ken Drushka has captured it all – the companies that began as independent gyppo operations, grew, merged, split, re-formed and ended up as multimillion-dollar corporations; the men who performed incredible feats, and the equally incredible demands made on them and their boats; the innovative techniques in towing logs and barges and in the design and powering of tugs. He recounts the bitter strike of the 1970s that nearly closed down the B.C. economy, and he leaves room for the voices of the men who manned the boats and built the industry.

The blend of anecdote, humour and hard information brings to life the history of men and ships along the British Columbia coast. Every turn of the story is accompanied by superb photographs – over 150 from a wide range of private and public sources.