The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), December 4, 1903


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Full Text
4,399 LIVES PUT IN DANGER
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OF THOSE ONLY TWENTY-FOUR WERE LOST DURING THE YEAR
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REPORT OF SUPT. KIMBALL OF LIFESAVING SERVICE
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PERCENTAGE OF PROPERTY LOSS LOWERED 3 PER CENT
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Washington, December 4. - S. I. Kimball, the general superintendent of the lifesaving service, in his annual report, says:

The number of disasters to vessels within the scope of operations of the service during the year, while not so great as in the last two preceding years, was still considerably above the average, and the percentage of loss of life to the number of lives involved was practically the same, showing the high standard of efficiency attained by the service has been maintained. The number of lives lost was 24, 1 less than last year, while the number of persons involved - 4,399 - was greater by 119.

The number of disasters to documented vessels was 346, carrying 3,682 persons, of whom 20 were lost. The esimated value of these vessels and their cargoes was $8,848,215, of which $7,683,530 were saved and $1,164,635 lost. Fifteen vessels were totally lost. There were 351casualties to sail boats, row boats, etc., by which 4 lives were lost out of a total of 655 persons imperiled.

The value fof the property involved in these minor casualties is estimated at $202,935, of which only $4,470 was lost, showing that the percentage of property lost was lowered from 15.6 to 12.9, as compared with last year.

The life-saving service saved or assisted in saving 573 imperiled vessels and their cargoes, besides affording assistance of minor importance to 438 other vessels, including craft of all kinds. In addition to these, 218 vessels, which were running into danger of stranding, were discovered by the surfmen on patrol, 198 at night, and 20 in thick weather in the day time, and were warned of their danger in time to avoid disaster. The number of stations embraced in the establishment at the close of the fiscal year was 273, of which 196 were located on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, 16 on the Pacific coast, 60 on the Great Lakes and ne on the falls of Ohio. The net expendature for the maintenance of the service during the year was $1,721,737.

The general superintendent renews his commendation for authority to employ a regular crew at Cape Nome, Alaska, where last year life boats and beach apparatus were placed by authority of congress. He also again pleads for the extension of the pension laws to certain officers and enlisted men of the service, and urges the creation of a retired list for those who become physically diabled through age or injury or disease contracted in the line of duty.

The following are the detailed reports of the great lakes districts:

Lakes Erie and Ontario, tenth district - Number of disasters, 57. Value of vessels, $809,270. Value of cargoes, $82,630. Total value of property, $892,900. Number of persons aboard vessels, 236. Number of persons lost, 1. Number of shipwrecked persons recorded at stations, 27. Number of days' succor afforded, 27. Value of property saved, $746,060. Value of property lost, $148,840. Number of disasters involving total loss of vessels, 4.

Lakes Huron and Superior, eleventh district - Number of disasters, 62. Value of vessels, $1,228,445. Value of cargoes, $283,540. Total value of property, $1,511,985. Number of persons aboard vessels, 320. Number of persons lost, 1. Number of shipwrecked persons recorded at stations, 51. Number of days' succor afforded, 83. Value of property saved, $1,453,940. Value of property lost, $58,045. Number of disasters involving total loss of vessels, 3.

Lake Michigan, twelfth district - Number of disasters, 107. Value of vessels, $851,145. Value of cargoes, $352,855. Total value of property, $1,204,000. Number of persons aboard vessels, 521. Number of persons lost, 1. Number of shipwrecked persons recorded at stations, 24. Number of days' succor afforded, 52. Value of property saved, $1,160,445. Value of property lost, $43,855. Number of disasters involving total loss of vessels, 3.


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Newspaper
Item Type:
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Notes:
The speech reported accompanied the written annual report which was presented to the government each year. It should be noted that this does not reflect, by any stretch of the imagination, all of the accidents occurring on the American side of the lakes, nor all of the deaths occurring in the year. I'm not certain of precisely what "disasters to vessels within the scope of operations of the service" means, but I suspect that these figures are just for the vessels which were brought to the attention of the service at the time of the accident. For example, my own records, largely confirmed by U. S. Custom House and Canadian records, show at least 45 American and 10 Canadian vessels becoming total losses on the Great Lakes in 1903, and costing at least 27 lives on the American side alone. The report shows 10 total losses and 3 lives lost.
Date of Original:
December 4, 1903
Local identifier:
GLN.14163
Language of Item:
English
Donor:
Dave Swayze
Copyright Statement:
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
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Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), December 4, 1903