THE SAILORS PREPARING.
Getting Boats Ready For Navigation.
Spring is advancing and mariners are preparing their boats for the season's trade. The ice bridges in the harbors are daily becoming weaker and cannot remain much longer, while many of the rivers and canals are free from their winter covering. Even though the effect of these frosty nights tends to solidify the ice it is thought the harbors will be clear within ten days, opening navigation for local traffic, but the canals will not be unlocked for at least a month yet. Necessary general repairs have been completed on most of the schooners and steamers plying on the river and Lake Ontario, and when open water is seen canvas and rigging will be set. The prospects for local traffic appears to be satisfactory, although very few charters have yet been given. It is almost certain though that there will be sufficient cargoes to keep all boats busy when the season opens. The coal supply at this port will need replenishing, and there is plenty of grain cargoes at surrounding points to keep the small hookers going.
The larger steamers will enter into commission as soon as the canals are opened, which, it is said, will take place not later than April 15th. The proposition of the department of railways and canals to keep them closed until the first of May for repairs does not meet with the approval of vessel owners and the managers of the transportation companies. Such a late opening, it is claimed, will have a detrimental effect on Canadian marine interests to the advantage of American trade. An immense quantity of grain at the western end of the inland water route awaits transportation, and the first route opened will have first chance. If the St. Lawrence river route is kept closed until May much of the grain will likely pass through Buffalo to the seaboard. The competition between the American and Candian routes is very keen, and in justice to Canadian shipowners and forwarding companies the government should not hamper them in their bid for the trade. Repairs to locks should be started early so as to be ready for opening when required. It is to be hoped that the overtures made to the government by the boards of trade respecting the opening of canals will avail much.
The Lake Ontario navigation company's steamer North King will go into service this season a different boat from what she was last year in point of accommodation. The carpenter's axe and hammer have so transformed the appearance of the main deck that her oldest patron will scarcely know her on stepping aboard. The after cabin has been gutted, the centre partition removed, and instead nine cosy staterooms occupy the space, with sleeping accommodation for twenty-two persons. The purser's old office has also been converted into a sleeping compartment. Some of the new staterooms open from the deck, affording plenty of light and ventilation. This will be very desirable in the warm months. A hardwood deck has been laid, extending back from the dining room floor. The sliding doors at each after quarter have been removed and the space utilized for dining-room accommodation, which will be found a decided improvement. Without sacrificing any space another convenience is obtained in reversing the saloon stairway to lead forward instead of into the dining room, as formerly, a change which will readily be appreciated by passengers and steward.
The bar-room has been remodelled for the purser's office, and on account of its convenient position, will do away with the dissatisfaction of crowding in the dining room. The new bar stands away forward on the main deck and when completed will be a model for beauty and neatness. An additonal room on the hurricane deck, behind the wheel house, gives the captain a large stateroom. The alterations made under the supervision of George Menary will greatly increase the comforts on the already well equipped and commodious steamer. Davis' dry dock is being cleared for the purpose of caulking the North King's hull. She will be ready to begin her route at the usual date.
The steamer Argyle, of Picton, Hepburn's new boat, has a dining room similar to that in the steamer North King.
W.A. Donesha's new tug for service on the Morrisburg canal will be ready within two weeks, though the contract calls for April 15th. She will be fitted out with the machinery of the owner's old tug, H.C. Curtis, with a five foot wheel, which will make her a powerful craft.
Davis & Sons are building a passenger and towing steamer for Mr. Poupore, Pembroke. Her dimensions are forty-two feet by eight feet.
Shipbuilders are busy on the steamer Hero, laying new sections in the main deck and adding other improvements. Several new knees have been placed under the after guards. The engineer has about finished adjusting the machinery and the sturdy steamer will be ready to sail within five days.
p.6 Late Afternoon Events - Coleman Hinckley today signed papers as captain for the ensuing season with the Richelieu & Ontario navigation company.