The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), Feb. 20, 1885

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A Deputation To Go To Ottawa To Interview The Government

A List Of Serious Grievances

A large and representative meeting of the steamboat owners of Ontario was held in Toronto on Wednesday to consider the proposal made by the Dominion Government to compel the use of foghorns on steamboats. Mr. Thomas Marks, of Port Arthur, presided.

A communication from the office of the Board of Steamboat Inspectors, Toronto, stated that instructions had been given to the Inspector to call attention to the clause in the Steamboat Act which provides that steamboats shall be supplied with a steam whistle or other efficient steam sound signal, so placed so that the sound may not be intercepted by any obstruction, and with an efficient fog horn, to be sounded by a bellows or other mechanical means, and also with an efficient bell.

This is an old Act, it appears, which was amended some time ago. The amendments made to the old Act have since been rescinded by the Government, leaving the old Act, which contains the clause relating to fog horns, and to which the steamboat owners take exception, still in force.

Fog Horns Unnecessary.

Mr. J.H. Hagarty said steamboat owners were of opinion that fog horns were unnecessary. If the use of foghorns on steamboats were made compulsory it would involve an expenditure of $360,000 by the lake marine.

Captain Carter said there was other grievances which should be remedied. Some time ago they had been compelled to get a large number of life-preservers. Then, for some reason or other, the inspectors did not ask for them when inspecting the boats, and it was thought they were not required. After some time, however, they were obliged to get these life-preservers again. Whenever the Minister of Marine proposed to amend the Steamboat Act he should submit the proposed amendments to a meeting of steamboat engineers, and then they would know the provisions of the law and would not be put to such unnecessary trouble as they were at present. Referring to the appointment of mates for small vessels that run only in day time and pilot by landmarks, he said it was impossible sometimes to get mates for these vessels. It was as useless to get special mates for these vessels as it was to get fog horns for steamboats. The Government had also put the steamboat owners to a great deal of bother in the matter of providing fire-extinguishers and steam gauges. They had stood these continual changes in the Act for the past 15 or 18 years, and he thought it was time that they should take a stand and see why they were being made so often. He did not think the Minister of Marine and Fisheries was altogether to blame. He thought the changes were made at the instance of some other person.

Mr. Neelon, M.P.P., thought they should ask Mr. Risley what the requirements were now, and what they were likely to be. Business was very dull for vessels at present, and boats had to carry passengers now in competition with the railways. In the case of fog-horns he thought if a second steam-whistle was provided it would it would be all that was necessary. If a boat carried 40 passengers and was of a certain tonnage it was obliged to be provided with 200 life-preservers. Another boat of the same tonnage might carry 1,000 passengers and only be provided with 200 life preservers and comply with the regulations. The number of life preservers for each boat should be should be fixed according to the number of passengers it carried.

Mr. Haggarty said the foghorns required by the Act would cost about $400 each.

Dinner Horns On Lake Vessels.

Capt. Trowell, sailing on the lakes for 24 years, said he had never seen the need of having fog horns at any time.

Capt. Sinclair, connected with steamboats for 35 years, had never known a steam-whistle to get out of order or break down.

Capt. Sylvester asked if Capt. Trowell considered the system of signalling as nearly perfect as they could suggest.

Capt. Trowell said he considered the present system as perfect as it could be made.

Capt. Sylvester said if the Canadian steamboat owners conflicted with the Americans in their system of whistling, they would never be out of trouble.

Mr. Morgan, engaged on the lakes for years between Chicago and Montreal, was satisfied that there was no need of fog-horns.

Mr. Marks said fog-horns would be a dead letter if introduced, as they could not use them. They would conflict with the American regulations.

Capt. Fairgrieve, Hamilton, said he was satisfied that the government had been prompted to introduce the fog horns by the Alberta collision.

The Fog Horn Not Necessary.

The following resolution was moved by Capt. Hall, seconded by Capt. Morgan: "That this meeting of steamboat owners is firmly of the opinion that there is no necessity for the proposed fog horn system, and it should be struck out of the Steamboat Act; that the present system of steam whistles and bells is all that is required and should not be changed, and that the following gentlemen be appointed a deputation to interview the Minister of Marine and Fisheries in regard to this matter: Messrs. Neelon, M.P.P., Muir, Cameron, Hall, Long, Keighley (Keigliley ?), Fairgrave (Fairgrieve ?), Mills, Marks, Sylvester, Carter, Leslie, Gildersleeve, Folger, Calvin and Hagarty."

The motion was unanimously carried.

Canadian Marine Association Formed.

The following resolution was carried:

Moved by Mr. Carter, seconded by Mr. McIntyre, that this meeting resolve itself into an association to be known as the Canadian Marine Association with headquarters at Toronto; that Mr. Hagarty be appointed President; Capt. Fairgrave, Vice-President, and Mr. Geddes, Secretary-Treasurer; that these officers be elected annually, on the third Monday in January every year; that the Secretary-Treasurer be instructed to correspond with all persons in the Canadian marine; that the entrance fee be $2; that the annual subscription be __ cents per ton for the different interests forming the association; that the objects of this association be to watch marine legislation by the government from year to year, and for other matters relating to the merchant marine of Canada; that there shall be an Executive Committee, consisting of ten members, who will assist the officers of the association in their duties, the officers to be members ex officio of the Executive Committee, and that five members of the Executive be a quorum.

On motion of Mr. Carter, seconded by Mr. McIntyre, the following gentlemen were appointed an Executive Committee: Capt. Hall, Toronto; Mr. Cameron, Collingwood; Mr. Norris, St. Catharines; Mr. Marks, Port Arthur; Mr. McKay, Hamilton; Capt. Carter, Deseronto; Mr. Gildersleeve, Kingston; and Messrs. Sylvester, Keith and J.T. Matthews, Toronto. The motion was carried.

Other Changes Desired.

On motion of Mr. P. McIntyre, seconded by Mr. Hagarty, it was decided that the government ask that ferry steamers under 100 tons gross, plying on inland waters, be not required to carry a certificated mate.

Capt. Morgan moved, seconded by Capt. Sylvester, that the Minister of Marine be asked to provide for a third grade engineer for freight boats.

The deputation will go to Ottawa on the 23rd inst. [Toronto Globe]

p.3 Incidents Of the Day - The schr. H. Dudley, Capt. Parsons, has been loaded by Richardson & Son with 11,000 bushels of grain. The captain, who has been overseeing the work, returned home to Port Colborne today.

Capt. Noonan's new steamer will run between Kingston and Westport.

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Feb. 20, 1885
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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), Feb. 20, 1885