THE NEW SURF BOAT
The terrible accident which happened at Point au Barques on April 23, 1880, and resulted in the loss of the entire crew of the Point au Barques lifesaving station, with the single exception of Capt. Jerome G. Kiah, is still fresh in the memory of all readers, but it will probably be a surprise to most people that the same boat, the capsizing of which caused such a loss of life, is still used at that dangerous point. Capt. Jerome G. Kiah, superintendent of the Tenth lifesaving district, while at Washington last March, requested that one of Capt. D. P. Dohm self-acting surf boats be substituted for the old one. The new boat arrived here on the schooner H. F. Merry, Thursday night, and was shipped last night to Point au Barques on the steamer Milton D. Ward. The boat was built at Erie by W. W. Loomis, and is constructed of the best white pine. She is 26 feet long, five feet nine inches beam, two feet four inches deep, and weighs, when ready for service, 1,850 pounds. At each end of the boat there is an air tight chamber, built of wood and protected by galvanized iron. These, with the water ballast in the bottom of the boat, cause her to right immediately on being capsized. The boat is provided with a false bottom, which is above the level of the water when she is loaded. Any water getting into the boat immediately runs out at the centre board box, which is provided with valves which permit the water to pass down, but close at once so that no water can come up. Between the bottom of the boat and the false bottom are the ballast tanks, four in number, which are separate and can be filled or emptied so as to keep the boat in proper trim. She is provided with two bilge pumps, and a pump for each water tank. The boat requires a crew of seven, and will carry in addition to this crew twenty persons. Around the outside of the boat is a canvas fender filled with cork, which adds greatly to the buoyancy of the craft, and keeps considerable water out, as the waves striking against it are prevented from entering the boat.
When Capt. Kiah tested the new boat at Buffalo recently, she righted and freed herself of water in twenty-five seconds, with the centre board in its place. Without the centre board she was free from water in twenty seconds. This was with no crew on board. With seven men in her she freed herself from water in fifteen seconds.
Capt. Kiah greatly regretted his inability to give an exhibition of this boat at Detroit, for, being without the necessary authority from the government, and also without a crew, he was forced to forego the pleasure of showing the people of Detroit what he considers the best surf boat in existence. He, however, promised to make arrangements for the exhibition of the next new boat he has occasion to purchase, and states that the date is not far distant when all the lake stations will be provided with Capt. D. P. Dohm's self-righting, self-ballasting and self-bailing surf boats.