The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 5 Jan 1907

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p.5 Pith of the News - The ship yards of the great lakes have under construction, for delivery, this year, seventy-one vessels. Forty-five of them are bulk freighters and four are passenger steamers. Fifteen of the vessels will be built by Detroit yards.



Again Opened By Captain Thomas Donnelly.

Last evening the first of the series of marine lectures was held in the old collegiate institute, and the room was well filled when Captain Thomas Donnelly began sharp at eight o'clock. The lecturer explained that he came down from Toronto on the afternoon train, and would leave again at midnight for Montreal to take evidence of three of the crew of the steamer Golspie, who had promised to meet him and give the story of the unfortunate wreck. Capt. Donnelly welcomed all the old faces and many new ones, and hoped that the series of lectures given this winter would be productive of much good to his hearers. He told of the establishment of lectures on marine subjects in other Canadian towns, which proved that the honorable minister of marine and his department were in thorough earnest in their endeavors to improve the education and training of lake sailors and hoped the sailors would show their appreciation by attending.

"There is one point I want to emphasize," said he, "and that is that these lectures (although it is expected they will be of great benefit to applicants for masters and mates certificates), were not started with that one object in view. We want to teach the marine men of the great lakes to understand the very grave responsibility which they bear to the passengers by water, to the owners of their ships and to themselves. Therefore, every master and mate in this vicinity ought to attend and try to improve his knowledge of the rules of navigation, and the practice of seamanship. The department of marine has evidently decided to fully investigate every case in which loss of life results from disaster to lake ships and the master and mate who violates the law will no doubt be held strictly to account. The owners of the modern steamers are fully alive to the necessity of engaging only good, sober, capable officers, and the man who does intend to learn his business well and do his duty faithfully will be left behind in the race."

The captain then took up a list of the different subjects he intended lecturing on, and explained fully the difference between the theory and practice of navigation. He showed how important it was that an officer should possess a knowledge of both before he could successfully command a lake vessel, but he assured his hearers that the disasters of the past season on the lakes proved that "eternal vigilance was the price to be paid for safety" in lake navigation. He wanted to teach his class the theory of navigation but he also wanted to point out to them that the principal cause of disaster on the lakes was a too implicit confidence in the compass and the placing of too much faith in the log which fooled navigators when being used in zero weather. If a lake navigator undertook to navigate narrow passages in snowstorms and fog, disaster was sure to follow, and he requested his hearers to point to one case of disaster happening with the engines running under check, and the lead line in use and ordinary common sense ought to teach an officer to follow both these practices under such circumstances.

He intended plunging right into the rules of the road next meeting, and hoped that every sailor and everyone interested in marine matters would find it convenient to attend. He promised to take up any marine matter that the class expressed a desire to be informed about, and he would ask them to interrupt him at any time and ask questions concerning any matter not made clear. Captain Donnelly spoke for exactly two hours, and one could hear a pin drop at any time during his talk.

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5 Jan 1907
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  • 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), 5 Jan 1907