Classic Boat Festival:

Honourary Commodore

The Maritime Museum of BC is proud to welcome John MacFarlane as Honourary Commodore for the 2018 Classic Boat Festival!


A commodore refers to a person of high rank, commanding a body of ships. Examples include: Captain in the Navy, Commander of a body of merchant ships, or President of a Yacht Club. The Honourary Commodore at the Classic Boat Festival is present at the Sailpast and all formal ceremonies.

John MacFarlane

John MacFarlane is the Curator of The Nauticapedia, the online database of British Columbia nautical history. He loves to share his passion for British Columbia’s colourful nautical heritage with everyone, particularly those for whom it may be a new discovery.

His father, grandfather and a number of uncles and cousins pursued nautical careers and he underwent officer training with the Royal Canadian Naval Reserve as a young man. His great grandfather, Major J.F.L. MacFarlane, is well known as the “Father of the Malahat” and his mother’s family arrived in Victoria for the Fraser River gold rush from California where they had settled after the gold rush of 1849.

After twenty years with the National Parks Service and several years as an international consultant John was appointed as the Director of the Maritime Museum of British Columbia. This was followed by a move to the lower mainland where he worked in senior positions in regional government with Metro Vancouver. He has lived and worked in 6 provinces and five countries. Now retired, he lives on the central east coast of Vancouver Island with his wife Catherine.

The author of 13 books and several hundred articles he has devoted his spare time over the last 40 years to leading a small group of volunteers in building The Nauticapedia, the publicly available searchable database of ships, companies and mariners. He continues to write and publish (in 2018 his work appears in a book published in Paris, a Classic Boat journal in Australia and in British Columbia History magazine.)

He was appointed as the Curator Emeritus of the Maritime Museum of British Columbia in 1995 and as a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (London) in 1994. He is a graduate of Dalhousie University and Simon Fraser University.



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