The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), 8 Nov, 1859

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INTERESTING EXPERIMENTS WITH CAPT. OTTINGER'S SURF-BOAT. - A series of experiments with Capt. Ottinger's surf-boat and other apparatus to be used in saving the lives of shipwrecked persons were made at the Erie Basin yesterday afternoon, in the presence of a few invited friends. Capt. Ottinger is in command of the U. S. revenue cutter now stationed at this port, and has been in the government service for quite a number of years. The experiments yesterday were a perfect success. The surfboat is of metal, some six feet long, of an oval shape, and is calculated to hold three men. At either end are attached staples with rings, to which ropes are to be made fast. On the upper side of the boat is a small door of sufficient size to admit the body of a man, and there are small vent-holes and light on either side. The boat is perfectly water tight, and two men can carry it with ease. The apparatus consists of a mortar capable of throwing an eighteen-pound shot or ball. The ball is a perfect globe, and has an indentation on one side, in which is inserted a staple, and to which is inserted a spiral wire and cord. - The cord is fastened to the spiral wire after the mortar is loaded. This mortar was placed upon the Western Transportation Company's dock, and the ball and cord were thrown nearly half a mile down the Erie Basin. The surf-boat was thrown over the dock with a man in it, and was towed perhaps a quarter of a mile out into the basin and back to the dock.

The manner in which this apparatus id to be used is as follows:

The mortar is placed on the beach in localities where the surf generally runs high, and where a common life-boat would be unable to live. The ball with the cord is thrown over the wreck, and the persons on the wreck haul this cord, which is made fast to the surf-boat, to them. The persons on the wreck then enter the boat, and are drawn to shore by means of a rope attached to the other end of the boat. It matters not whether the boat goes under or floats on top of the waves, the inmates are drawn to shore in safety. This surf-boat and apparatus, which are the invention of Capt. Ottinger, have been adopted by the government, and there are already sixty of his boats stationed on the Atlantic coast. - Buffalo Courier, 5th.

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8 Nov, 1859
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Dave Swayze
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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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Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), 8 Nov, 1859