Cannery A to Z: W is for Wheelhouse

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While the term “in my wheelhouse” meaning an area of expertise, is taken from baseball (in reference to the perfect strike zone to hit a home run), on a fishing boat it is the name given to the sheltered area for the person at the wheel.

Have you ever wondered what life is like on a modern fishing boat? Gone are the days of fishing from small fishing boats called skiffs, with only a tent-like structure for shelter and not even a bathroom. These days most fishing boats, even small ones, have a wheelhouse.

If you have visited the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site, you may recall that there is a model wheelhouse* in our “Fishing the West Coast” gallery area. This wheelhouse also includes luxuries such as a kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. A lot has changed in the commercial fishing industry in the past 100 years. When fishing was happening on small skiffs it was possible to be out for days at a time; now with more modern fishing boats it can be weeks or even months. Spending time at sea still means you have to cram into a smaller space than you would on would also meant that you could be far away from fresh fruits and vegetables for a long time. But anyone who is passionate about fishing will tell you it’s worth it! If you were take a trip on a commercial fishing boat, what would you have in your wheelhouse?

*The wheelhouse display is currently closed at the Cannery, but visitors can still enjoy the exhibits and displays featuring the different fishing boat models to see the variety of shapes and functions of fishing vessels, based on what they catch and where they do their fishing.

Posted by m.horita
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