S.S. Beaver Medal

The Maritime Museum SS Beaver Medal for Maritime Excellence recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the marine sector in our Province. These attainments may include-but are not limited to- science, technology, business, applications of maritime skills and academic contributions. Up to three candidates nominated by the public are selected each year through a rigorous screening process. An organization or ship is also unusually granted an award.  The awards are selected by a blue-ribbon panel of representatives involved in various aspects of BC’s maritime interests.

SS Beaver –the first steam-powered vessel on the west coast of North America- operated up and down the BC Coast for 52 years. Built for the Hudson’s Bay Company on the Thames, she functioned as a floating trading post and coastal freighter. The Royal Navy had a constant presence in the coast starting in the 1840s and it was its hydrographic work which opened up BC for shipping. Beaver was chartered by the RN as a survey ship for 8 years.  At the end of her career this pioneering vessel was sold by the Hudson’s Bay Company and used as a towboat.

The gold-plated medals are cast from materials salvaged from the wreck of the ship after she grounded on Siwash Rock outside Vancouver in 1888.

2018 Nominations

The nominations for 2018 are now open! Please refer to the following documents for more information on nominating someone for this award.

Guidelines for Nominators

2018 Beaver Medal Nomination Form

Please email us at info@mmbc.bc.ca if you have any questions.

2017 Awards

We are proud to present the following winners of the 2017 SS Beaver Medal Award for Maritime Excellence:

Mr. Campbell Black, entrepreneur who established and remains the driving force in Quadrant Marine Institute, an apprenticeship training facility in Sidney to school marine service technicians for careers in BC’s boat and ship repair/building sector. (resident of Sidney);

Mr. Barrie Farrell, innovative fish boat builder. When fiberglass became available in the Sixties he was one of the first boat builders to realize its advantages and developed an innovative hull form which suited what the fishing industry required at the time. Mr. Farrell has built over 300 commercial and pleasure boats at various locations on the south coast. (resident of Nanaimo);

Captain Keith McLaren, retired deepsea and coastal mariner, formerly Senior Master of Spirit of Vancouver island, author of award-winning books on seafaring (resident of North Saanich);

Mr. Roland Webb, Certified Marine Engineer and senior executive in the ship repair and shipbuilding sector, currently Senior Vice President Robert Allan Ltd., Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, Vancouver BC (resident of White Rock); and

A special award will recognize the Sail life and Training Society (SALTS) of Victoria for its youth sail training and motivational programs. SALTS programs reach 1,700 young people aged 13 to 25 each year and have mentored between 50 and 60 thousand youth afloat since 1974.

Reading from left to right: Tristan Hedley, SALTS, Derek Rand SALTS, Tony Anderson SALTS, Loren Hagerty, SALTS, Her Honour, Barrie Farrell, Brian Henry, Keith McLaren, Roland Webb

Presentation Maritime Museum of BC SS BEAVER Awards at Government House Victoria Nov 18, 2016: Reading from left to right  Captain David Woodman, Arctic Researcher and former BC Ferries Master,  Captain Stephen Brown, Past President Chamber of Shipping of BC,  Lieutenant Governor The Honourable Judith Guichon, John Horton, Marine Artist and Search & Rescue Volunteer, Captain Derek Sweet, BC Ferries, MV Salish Orca, Captain Jamie Marshall, VP Ops BC Ferries.

Presentation of the SS Beaver Award to Dr. John Harland in Kelowna, BC on April 12, 2017.

2016 S.S. Beaver Medal for Maritime Excellence

The 2016 recipients of the MMBC SS Beaver Medal for Maritime Excellence were:

  • Captain Stephen Brown: Past President Chamber of Shipping of BC, retired deep sea Master Mariner and shipping line operation manager;
  • John Harland: retired physician recognized worldwide as an authority on marine technology and author of standard books in this area;
  • John Horton: marine artist and Outstanding Marine Search and Rescue Volunteer; and
  • Captain David Woodman: retired mariner and author of groundbreaking studies collating Inuit oral testimony about the fate of the Franklin expedition and participant in 10 Arctic Investigation Expeditions;

A special award recognized BC Ferries for their over five decades of providing essential coastal infrastructure at high operating standards.  Two vessels well known to the travelling public – the Queens of Burnaby and Nanaimo- will be replaced next year by new state of the art vessels after operating for more than fifty years. These pioneering ships helped establish the foundation for today’s very successful service by transforming car ferry operation on the coast.

Congratulations to all winners, and thank you to everyone who submitted a nomination in 2016!

Past winners are:

2015 Captain Ronald Burchett, marine industry entrepreneur and builder of dynamic working models used worldwide for operator training of tugboats; Mr. Sydney Heal, veteran marine author; Mr. Helmut Lanziner, developer of universally- employed electronic marine chart display and information systems; special award will go to the Pacific Pilotage Authority, the Federal Crown Corporation responsible for administering pilotage services for vessels in Canadian west coast waters.

2014 Dr Barry Gough, maritime historian; Leonard McCann,  long-time curator Vancouver Maritime Museum; Captain Tom McCulloch,  hydrographer; special award to the Remotely Operated Platform for Ocean Sciences (ROPOS), a research submersible designed and built in BC and operating world-wide out of Sidney.  

2013 Malcolm Barker, General Manager, Victoria Shipyards; Dr. William Hick, for his close involvement in the dramatic development of the Port of Prince Rupert; Howard White, marine author and publisher; special award to the Thermopylae Club of Victoria for its role in preserving marine heritage.

2012 Robert G. Allan, naval architect, Peter Bernard, QC, maritime lawyer; Dennis Washington; marine industrialist; special award to SS Coho, veteran Victoria- Port Angeles ferry

The awards are normally presented by the Lieutenant Governor, Honorary Patron of the Museum.


Awards Committee

Barry Rolston, Past President MMBC
Dr. Michael Hadley, marine historian
Don Krusel, CEO Prince Rupert Port Authority
Commander (Retd) Robert Lewis-Manning, RCN,  President Chamber of Shipping of BC
Captain Jamie Marshall, VP Operations, BC Ferries
Captain David Snider, Canadian Coast Guard (Retd)
Dr. Marianne Scott, marine journalist

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