The Getty story has been updated with information from former owner Kevin Smith.
The Getty was built in 1927 at Harbour Boat Yards in Vancouver, on the east side of Rogers St. (now the site of a grain terminal) for Serge Stone, who was fishing out of Namu at the time. The boat was named for Stone’s wife. The picture above shows their son Dmitry who encountered the Getty at Steveston in the mid-1990s.
As Dmitry Stone recalled, his father had the boat built to go longlining for dogfish. “He was to pay it off from catch receipts.” Things didn’t go according to plan, however, and Stone was forced to give up the Getty.
I was born in 1929 and only learned the story years later. He hired two Russian greenhorn friends as crew and just got started, when he had to go to Vancouver on urgent business, leaving the two novices to continue fishing. When he got back a couple of weeks later, he found that they had lost all the gear. There was no money to refit and the boat reverted to the fishing company. She was named Getty, after my mother, and worked under that name as a seiner and packer on the north coast for many years thereafter. My folks lost track of her.
The Getty went on to become part of Anglo-British Columbia Packers fleet, seining and packing, for more than 40 years. When ABC Packers came to an end in 1968, the Getty went to the Nelson Brothers’ fleet for a couple of years, then to a series of single owners. Dmitry Stone came across her years after his father had fished her.
She touched my life briefly in 1995 or ’96 when I had returned to Vancouver after 27 years working in eastern Canada. Scanning the Buy and Sell paper, I came upon an ad, with photo, listing for sale a 45 ft. seiner, Getty, hauled out at a marina in Steveston. Astonished, I drove down and had a look at her. I scrambled through the foc’sl, engine room and fish hold, pausing in the wheelhouse to imagine my dad’s presence. The owner was on his back under the hull, recaulking leaky seams and renewing the anti-fouling paint. We chatted for a while and I told him what I knew of the Getty’s origin and early history. I called my sister in Seattle and she and her husband drove up to see the boat and fantasized about buying her and doing a restoration job. Not a good idea. I tracked her fate for a couple of months until she was sold and retired, to be converted into a live-aboard.
Kevin Smith, formerly of Bella Coola, was the last registered owner of the Getty. He writes,
I purchased the Getty in the early 90s to use for a live-aboard crew boat while doing forestry contracts out of Bella Coola. After purchasing it I went down to Steveston and got her ready for the trip up the coast.
There must have been four or five generations of wiring spread throughout the boat, and after trying to sort it out I finally gave up and just cut it all out. I salvaged the longer pieces of wire and redid the electrical system for the engine, gauges, lights and installed radar.
After a few days we gently set her in the water. The travel-lift operator was worried that since she had been out of the water so long the planks would have shrunk and she would leak like a sieve. Because of this he set her in and planned on leaving straps around her for an hour so we could pull her back out if necessary. Well, she didn’t leak at all! I moved her around to a finger and got ready for the trip.
We made the trip safely as far as Shearwater where the prop quit turning. My partner and I couldn’t find anything wrong and when it started working after a couple of hours we continued on into Bella Coola through the night so I wouldn’t miss my daughter’s birthday the next day.
We used the boat for a number of years doing forestry contracts and hauling freight out to Vancouver Island Helicopter’s floating helicopter logging camp. We had many fun and adventurous experiences. In late 1996 when I was moving out of Bella Coola I sold the boat to Robert Fryer who some may remember lived on the “Bristol Fashion” at the Bella Coola wharf. He later resold it and someone stripped the gear and engines off of it. My understanding is that it was abandoned onto the tide flats at Green Bay where it is rotting away now.