The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 20 Mar 1906

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p.4 The Early Opening of Navigation Receives A Serious Setback - Detroit, March 20th - cold and heavy winds have produced large ice fields on Lake Huron; heavy ice jams in St. Clair river; ice jam near Marine City extends from bottom of river to fifteen feet out of the water; two steamers of Detroit-Cleveland line caught in Cleveland harbor.



Dealt With At The Marine School.

In spite of the inclement weather and many counter-attractions, the attendance at the marine lecture, last evening, was quite large.

Capt. Thomas Donnelly first took up the boat equipment of steamers under the Steamboat Inspection act, and fully explained all the provisions of the rules and regulations bearing on this most important subject. First taking up the different sections in part 7 of the rules, the lecturer showed how many and what kind of lifeboats are required for the different classes of steamers, how the life-boats should be built, and how careful masters of passenger steamers and inspectors should be in the placing and handling of the boats if these were to be effective in saving life. Capt. Donnelly illustrated on the blackboard the proper methods used in fitting the davits and mentioned two or three cases where lives had been lost, and again other cases where lives had been saved by the proper or improper working of the boats. He then, in detail, explained each article of the boat's equipment and illustrated how each should be fastened ready for use.

"It seems a small matter," said the lecturer, "to talk to you mariners about the necessity of plugs in each lifeboat, and yet if you read the account of the Valencia wreck, where so many lives were lost on the Pacific coast, you must be moved, as I have been, at the account of how bravely the small boy kept his finger for hours, inserted in the plug hole to keep the water from coming into and swamping the life-boat. It was criminal negligence for the master or mate of that steamer to neglect to properly outfit the life-boats, and if the inspector did not do his duty when inspecting this steamer he ought to be held responsible."

By several illustrations, Capt. Donnelly showed the necessity of boat drill each week, if crews were to be kept efficient in handling the boats. He showed how the carrying capacity of the boats was figured out. He said that not enough encouragement was given to the carrying of life rafts on passenger steamers navigating the rivers, as these have been proven to be the most efficient part of the equipment of passenger steamers, as they are always ready and do not require launching. In this respect the American inspection rules had always been in advance of the Canadian rules.

He then took up the question of life preservers, showing the different makes and styles in use on Canadian and other steamers. He explained how solid cork was the best and only material that should be used for life preservers, and how dangerous life preservers might become if stuffed with rushes, cork shavings or loose granulated cork, and as an illustration gave an extract from the report of the investigating commission on the experience at the Valeria wreck. He called special attention to the necessity of placing the life-preservers in convenient and accessible places, and mentioned several cases where the life preservers could be found stored away where it would be impossible to lay hands on them in case of accident to the steamers.

Capt. Donnelly then gave a half-hour talk on cross-bearings, showing how easily the mariner could determine the exact position of his ship from bearings of lights or head lands, and how necessary this was in running along the coast or changing courses. At the conclusion of his lecture, which lasted two and a half hours, he thanked the sailors for coming out on such a stormy night.

March 21, 1906


March 22, 1906


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20 Mar 1906
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
Rick Neilson
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pd [more details]
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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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British Whig (Kingston, ON), 20 Mar 1906