Book: Workboats for the World: The Robert Allan Story

“Workboats for the World: The Robert Allan Story,” by Robert G. Allan, with Peter A. Robson, is about a company, the family that built it, and the many people whose efforts have helped to make Robert Allan Ltd. a Canadian success story in the global maritime world. It is also about the thousands of working vessels around the world that have been designed by the company over the better part of a century.

Along Canada’s West Coast waterfront and in ship-handling circles worldwide, few names are more respected than that of Robert Allan Ltd., the marine architecture firm that has been based in Vancouver for nearly a century. Founded in 1928, the firm got its start designing stealth speed boats used in rum running, classic fishing boats, small ferries and yachts. Under Robert F. (Bob) Allan, the firm began transforming the coastal tug fleet from wood to steel and developed unique innovations, such as self-loading/self-dumping log barges. Noted for the purposeful and handsome lines of their vessels and always at the forefront of developing marine technologies, the company pioneered a new generation of high-performance ship-assist and escort tugs in Vancouver Harbour under the direction of Robert G. Allan (author of this book), the last of his family to head the firm. These powerful and highly maneuverable vessels have taken the firm’s name around the world.

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