The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Detroit Post and Tribune (Detroit, MI), June 19, 1883

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Toronto Globe: The total number of vessels, sail and steam, in the Dominion in 1882 was 7,312. Of these 973 were steamers and 6,337 sail. In 1882 the number of vessels in Ontario was given by the government returns to be 430 steamers and 682 sail. The number of vessels in Ontario this year that would come under the description of insurable property is not so large, but the returns are those of vessels in actual business and traders. The number of steamers is 114, which includes tugs. The number of propellers is 237. The number of schooners and lake barges is 332. This gives a total of 683 vessels, steamers and sailers. There are also 331 river barges.

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When I saw this article with figures on Canadian registries I was rather excited (I know, I need a life!), because accountings of Canadian registries seem so rare. Also, I felt this was a near-perfect opportunity to compare the insurance lists with the govenmentment records, since I have a copy of the 1882 Inland Lloyds' Canadian Hull List (plus 6 supplements) to compare. I have always maintained that insurance lists underreport the actual numbers of vessels, since they are concerned mainly with insurable property, as alluded to above. Unfortunately, the results are so wildly different, it is apparent that there is a mistake in the statement above, since the Ontario-owned vessels on the Lloyds' list are only a relatively small fraction of the numbers shown in the article. I believe the article meant to say all inland vessels, instead of just Ontario vessels, but that is mere speculation. In any case, I hand-counted the vessels in the Lloyds' list, and here are the comparisons:

Article, Ontario hulls - 114
Lloyds's, all inland hulls - 98
Lloyd's, Ontario hulls - 14
Article, Ontario hulls - 237
Lloyds's, all inland hulls - 210
Lloyd's, Ontario hulls - 154
Sail & lake barges:
Article, Ontario hulls - 332
Lloyds's, all inland hulls - 293
Lloyd's, Ontario hulls - 242
River barges:
Article, Ontario hulls - 331
Lloyds's, all inland hulls - 263
Lloyd's, Ontario hulls - 68
Article, Ontario hulls - 1014
Lloyds's, all inland hulls - 864
Lloyd's, Ontario hulls - 478

Of the total hulls on Lloyds' List, the following were rated as "uninsurable": 1 steamer, 6 propellers, 17 sail and lake barges and - believe it or not - 73 river barges (more than a quarter!).
This took a long time, so I was somewhat disappointed with the results. Take from the figures what you will, but I do believe that at least they show that the insurance list does underreport the total hulls to some degree.
Date of Original:
June 19, 1883
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Dave Swayze
Copyright Statement:
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 Post and Tribune (Detroit, MI), June 19, 1883