Tug Boat Captain and Master Mariner

Captain CavinCaptain Elllice Martin Cavin (1889-1975) was born in Victoria BC and began his maritime career in 1905. He and his wife Mary Ellen had six children.

Cavin became a Master Mariner and over his long career skippered the tugboats Pilot, Hope, Olive M., Dola, Robert Preston, Glenboro, Island Rover, Island Ranger, Island Commander, and Island Champion (see below).

The skipper and the swimmer

By the time Marilyn Bell was 18 years old she had swum across Lake Ontario (1954) and had become the youngest person to swim the English Channel (1955).

Marilyn BellOn her second attempt to swim the Strait of Juan de Fuca (1956) through Bell followed the ocean-going tug Island Champion that helped break the metre-high cold sharp chop for the swimmer. Captain Cavin had been chosen for the job because of his knowledge of local waters and his maritime skills. Cavin encouraged Bell in her attempt to achieve her goal:

“This time I’m not getting out.” Marilyn called to Cavin

“OK, you’re my girl,” he replied.