The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily News (Kingston, ON), March 25, 1874

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p.2 The Harbour - There is still ice in the harbour but it is not so strong as yesterday. The steamer went out this forenoon, to make another attempt for the Cape, and she will probably succeed, as the field seems to be considerably loosened by the change in the wind last night. The upper part of the harbour froze over last night.


We publish the following rules etc. which were adopted at the annual meeting of the Dominion Board of Trade, held at Ottawa, on Friday Feb. 28th ult.

A Board of Examiners to be appointed of not less than three competent captains, who shall have sailed and served a regular apprenticeship on board of a sailing vessel and a passenger steamer, and have been in command ten years.

The said Board to meet twice every year, to examine captains and others that may come before them for the purpose of getting certificates as masters and mates showing their competency to fill any of the above situations.

No captain or mate allowed to take charge of any steamer or vessel without a certificate from the Board, to be shown to the Collector of the port where the vessel clears from.

It shall be the duty of the captain having charge of any steamer carrying passengers on the lakes or rivers to see, before leaving port in the spring, that his steamer is properly fitted out for the safety of passengers, according to the rules and regulations so provided and recommended by the Board of Examiners and the law.

Furthermore it shall be the duty of every captain having charge of any steamer carrying passengers to have the crew divided into four or more watches before leaving port, to be called as follows, or as to the number of boats in the vessel. Say crew of twenty seven-people to be divided in four boats; No. 1, port watch; No. 2, port watch; No. 3, starboard watch; No. 4, starboard watch.

The No. 1 boat's watch to consist of first mate in charge, 4 deck hands, and three waiters.

No. 2 boat's watch to consist of second mate in charge, 3 firemen, 1 waiter, 2 cooks.

No. 3 boat's watch to consist of 1wheelsman in charge, 2 engineers, 1 deck hand, 1 fireman, 1 porter.

No. 4 boat's watch to consist of the captain in charge, 1 wheelsman, 2 deck hands, purser, steward, and ladies' maid.

The above named watches to be drilled in the duty of lowering and hoisting the boats from the davits until the captain is satisfied that each man understands his duty thoroughly, before the steamer commences her regular trips, and to practice the lowering and hoisting at least once a month, or oftener, while the steamer is on her regular trips, at any time the captain may deem it necessary, by ordering the officers in charge to sound the signal of danger.

As soon as the alarm is sounded, all hands are to take their places at the boats previously appointed, and obey any orders given by the captain or their respective officers of each boat.

As soon as the boats are lowered in the water, one man is to go down the forward tackle, unhook both tackles, the stern tackle first, and get the boats ready to receive the passengers. The officers and men remaining are to stay on board and assist the passengers to get into their boats, and after a sufficient number are in (which number shall be determined by Captain or officer in charge), then the crew to get in and remain a short distance off from the steamer - and in no case shall the boat be cast loose until the officer gives the order and the boat is ready to leave. The boats to be kept on benches high enough for them to be shoved clear of the steamer's railing without hoisting, or the rail to be unshipped.

Each boat to have a painter spliced into the forward ring-bolt in the bows, and made fast on board the steamer at least ten feet forward of the boat's bows, and the painter to be of sufficient length, say 36 feet, to allow the boat to remain in the waist when fast on upper-deck.

The engineers to see the firemen are drilled in the duty of working the pumps, and to keep hose, etc., always ready for use.

The engineer on duty at the time the signal of danger is given to stop the engine at once, and see that the dampers are closed that there is no danger of the steam getting too high, than to proceed with his men to the pumps, and attach the hose ready for use if required for fire or other purposes.

The signal of danger to be known by four blasts of the steam whistle, or the rapid ringing of the fog bell or gong. The captain to see that all hands are at their posts, and order everything to the best of his knowledge, not leaving the steamer until all the passengers and crew are safe in the boats.

It shall be the duty of the captain and mate to keep a daily log and note down all transactions that may come under their notice; the log books to be shown to any one of the Board or Inspector at any time they may require, and particularly any fire, leakage, etc., taking place to be logged, also dates when crew are drilled.

All steamers to carry a watchman on the main or upper deck from sunset to sunrise while under way, and to be stationed near the engine and boilers.

The Board to see that all regulations of the law concerning life-preservers, buckets, axes, etc. are carried out and ready for immediate use.

Each boat to have its number painted on the bows in figures of not less than six inches, and to be placed two feet from the stem and also the name of the steamer.

The stewart's duty is to see that the life preservers are distributed by the waiters at the first alarm, and show the passengers how to put them on, and also cards showing where all life preservers are kept to be nailed up in each stateroom and on deck, with full instructions of how to be used. A diagram of the steamer's deck, showing the position and number of each boat, to be framed and hung up in the saloon and also on the main deck forward, and the names of all the crew belonging to each watch and boat hung in the engine room.

A small axe to be kept in the bow of each boat to cut away painter if necessary, or for other purposes.

Any boat not a life boat to be made such by lining in canvas bags, or sheathing sufficient cork inside the boat.

A marine law is strongly recommended to be passed, for the better regulation of seamen, similar to that now in force in the United States inland waters.

Each steamer to have a fog-bell in addition to the whistle.

The fire extinguishers also should be kept on board for use when fire should arise lying in port and without steam to work the pumps. This is very necessary for protection of life and property.

Each steamer to have two or more rope ladders with suitable man rope as a means of escape from the upper and main decks, and of sufficent length to reach the water, to be coiled on deck forward and aft, and made fast to the deck near the side.

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March 25, 1874
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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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Daily News (Kingston, ON), March 25, 1874