The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), Dec. 28, 1882

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A "Mariner" writes to the Mail in advocacy of the erection of life-saving stations on the lake side of Prince Edward County. He quotes the speech made by Mr. J.S. McQuaig in the House of Commons in March, 1881, when $3,000 were voted to purchase life-boats, and when the hope was expressed that this amount would be supplemented by an appropriation of money from which a yearly sum to each of the men belonging to the life stations might be awarded. A communication sent by Mr. McCuaig to the Minister of Marine is also quoted. In this document it is stated that between 1867 and 1878, inclusive, no less than 92 wrecks took place east of Weller's Bay. It is further stated:

"It is to the need of proper life-saving apparatus, and of regular organized crews, that I now desire emphatically to direct your attention. When men are ready, as the sailors and fishermen of my country, in common with their companions of the same profession on the shores of our inland lakes, have always shown themselves, to risk their lives for others, and when they give such proofs of dauntless courage and devotion, it is but right that by every means in its power the Government should aid and encourage this commendable and noble work of humanity.

It is not a matter of serious expense. All that would be required at each life-boat station would be a crew, ten in number, chosen from among the fishermen and sailors of the locality, and commanded by a Captain from among their own class. Besides their natural aptitude for and experience in this peculiar work they would be regularly trained to the service. Thirty dollars per year for each man, and one hundred and fifty dollars for the Captain, might prove sufficient pecuniary encouragement to keep the organization effective, because a large amount of salvage would naturally fall to them, and our marine insurance companies might be, in their own interest, induced to supplement this amount. The Superintendent of the several stations for life-saving service, with great advantage, might be appointed Government Wrecking Agent.

In my opinion there should be two or three life-boat stations on the coast between Weller's Beach and Point Traverse, the scenes of many a disaster and cruel loss of human life."

At page 37 of his report, Mr. Lewis says: - "I would recommend the appropriation of a small sum of money for the encouragement of practice by the crews of each boat in heavy weather; as it is, in case the services of the boats are required, they have to pick up just such a crew as they can find, whereas, if they were regularly organized, although volunteers, they could handle their boat much more effectively and safely."

"Mariner" concludes by remarking that the shipping community will thank Parliament and the Government for any grants towards the Life Saving Service, so eloquently pleaded for and by so many.

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Dec. 28, 1882
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Rick Neilson
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), Dec. 28, 1882