Left to right:  Samantha Mann, McKenzie McDonough, Matt Fisher (architectural metals foreman), Thomas Cordner, Ross MacKay (roofing foreman), Dean Craggs and Eric Smirnjak. Missing: Randy Hauser and Matt Sladich

Matt Fisher and his metals team, and Ross MacKay and his line-up, have been assigned the metals and roofing aspects of this new construction sub-station at this busy maritime ship repair facility.

The Esquimalt Graving Dock (EGD) is the largest non-military drydock on the west coast of the Americas. It is massive; measuring in at 357.5 m long X 41.15 m wide X 12.19 m deep (1172’ X 135’ X 40’). It has a volume of 179,329 m³ (47,373,595 US gallons). The mass of the seawater within the EGD when flooded at high tide is 405,328,479 pounds (202,604 tons). That’s enough water to fill 72 Olympic sized swimming pools. If we were to fill this with 500 ml (16 ounce) single serve bottled water purchased at your local grocery store, we would likely have to fork over $500,000,000 to your neighbourhood grocer. Good thing seawater is cheap. If each of the 6,332,935 cubic feet of water in the flooded EGD could be placed end to end, it would span the distance from San Diego California to Seattle Washington (1200 miles).

The Celebrity Cruise Line’s MILLENNIUM sitshigh and dry in the Graving Dock undergoing an annual re-fit in preparation for the upcoming cruise season. With an overall length of 294 m (954’), there is still over 60 m (200’) of unused space in the drydock.

The shipbuilding industry on the West Coast has recently entered a renaissance. Shipyards are scrambling to keep up. The infrastructure is aging, and demand is at an all time high. The EGD is no exception to this resurgence, and there is a long wait list to get booked into the drydock. The increased pressures on the EGD combined with its aging facilities has necessitated much needed infrastructure upgrades.

At the time of writing, the EGD accommodates a Canadian Coast Guard Research vessel and a naval warship from New Zealand, both in for a refit. A recently purchased ship from Greece renamed the Northern Sea Wolf, is tied up dockside (to the rear of the crew in the photo above) and is nearing completion of a refit to bring the ship up to Transport Canada and BC Ferries standards. This ship will be put into service on a northern route providing ferry service to north coastal BC.

Esquimalt Graving Dock nearing completion in 1924.