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have been appointed, one to consider all propositions relating to boats, rafts, life-cars, transporting carriages, hauling lines, and similar contrivances. The other Board has charge of whatever pertains to wreck ordnance and its appurtenances.
Up to the present time the first-mentioned Board has not recommended any radical change in the construction of the surf-boats already in use, being of opinion that the peculiarities of the Atlantic coast render a light surf-boat preferable to the heavier lifeboat, but a self righting and self-bailing lifeboat invented by Captain Dobbins has been purchased by the department and placed at one of the Lake stations. This boat is but little heavier than an ordinary surf-boat, and on one occasion, when proceeding to a wreck, capsized in the breakers, but immediately righted again with the men in their places and proceeded to the wreck, from which all the crew were safely brought ashore. Another self-righting boat has been built by Superintendent Richardson, which weighs about 1 ton 12 cwt., and has a draught of water of 18 inches when loaded. The smallest English lifeboat of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution weighs about 2 tons, and draws 22 inches of water. For some stations the reduction in weight is not so important, but the reduction in draught of water is generally of the greatest consequence.
This boat is built of cedar and white oak, framed and planked in the usual style of ordinary boats, and is therefore cheaper and less difficult to build and repair than the English boat, which is constructed of mahogany, and double planked diagonally, but it cannot be so strong and durable as the latter.
The end air cases are flat instead of convex, as in the English boats, which is a rather doubtful alteration. The water is delivered from the deck through large scuppers at the side, arranged with shutters to prevent the rushing back of water into the boat. These are considered preferable to
the English delivery pipes, as the latter are liable to become choked with ice.
THE LIFE-SAVING SERVICE OF THE
It is said that the management of the surf-boats by the surfmen is superbly skilful, and they believe that the little craft in their hands will safely ride through any sea in which a lifeboat can live.
The lifeboat is necessarily of such a form as to preclude the quick manoeuvering the surf-boat admits of, and the surfmen have such confidence in their own dexterity, to which the light boat renders an almost magical obedience, that they would prefer to rely upon it rather than be bothered in a dangerous sea with what they would consider the clumsy work compelled by the build of the heavier and perhaps more seaworthy vessel.
The weight of opinion, however, among those who have studied the subject in America, .as in England, is in favour of the self-righting and self-bailing lifeboat, and the officers of the Life-Saving Service are convinced that such a boat capable of being used at all their stations will eventually be devised, and, after the surfmen have become acquainted with it, it will supersede the surf-boat, and be used where otherwise the mortar apparatus would be resorted to.
Up to the present time a very large proportion of the rescues effected by the Life-Saving Department have been accomplished by establishing communication between the shore and the wreck, by means of a line thrown from the former.
An enormous number of experiments have been made with various patterns of rockets, mortars, and guns for effecting this object, and the systems in use in European countries reported upon.
The result has been the adoption of Lieutenant Lyle's life-saving gun at all the stations, and a recommendation to adopt the Lyle Emery grapple shot.
The guns are made of bronze, composed of 90 per cent. of copper and 10 per cent. of tin; they are cast in iron chills, and have a bore of 2 inches, and are 24 inches long over all.
The shot generally used with these guns is cylindrical, with an ogival head, and a shank in the base furnished with an eye to which the line is attached. The length of the shot is inches, and its weight
inches, and of the shank 6 17 lbs. The shot is inserted in the gun with its point towards the breach and the shank projecting beyond the muzzle.
After a great many trials, the department has decided upon braided linen as the best material of which to make the shot lines, owing to its lightness, strength, and other advantages.
The line is carefully coiled in a box specially prepared to receive it, called a "faking box," and when the gun is fired the shot soon turns over in its flight, owing to the resistance caused by the line and the superior weight of the head of the shot.
The improvements effected by Lieut. Lyle in these guns is very remarkable, as his small gun has a range slightly exceeding that of the mortar in use at the time he was instructed to investigate the matter, while the weight of his gun is only one-third of that of the service mortar, and his large gun has a range exceeding that of the largest mortar in use, while the weight is only 202 lbs. as compared with 568lbs.
The ranges obtained with the Lyle gun are as great as will admit of the use of the breeches-buoy or life-car with success; in fact, great difficulties are frequently encountered by the life-saving crews, owing to the hawser and lines getting entangled; and the violent motions of the wreck often cause the lines to snap, or else the wreck drives up the
beach; and difficulty is experienced in keeping the lines tight, and frequently in winter they become clogged with
The Lyle Emery grapple shot weighs 18 lbs., and consists of a cylindrical body with an ogival head, to the base of which are attached four arms or flukes working on hinges, which, when closed, do not project beyond the body of the shot. There is also a fixed shank, with an eye at its extremity to which the line is made fast.
The projectile is inserted in the gun point first, with the flukes closed, and the line tied to the eye of the shank. In this position the base of the shot is towards the muzzle of the gun, the flukes partially enter the bore, while the shank extends beyond the muzzle. In firing, the projectile describes the first part of this trajectory base foremost, the strain upon the shank being towards the rear; the flukes are kept closed, but as soon as the projectile reverses its position, as it must do in the course of its flight, the tension on the line draws out the shank to the full extent of its play in the base of the shot, thus spreading the flukes.
A stop prevents the flukes from closing, but this can be effected by hand when the shot is recovered.
The use of this shot is either to throw a line over a stranded vessel, or in the event of the crew sending a barrel or raft afloat with a line attached, in the hope of effecting a communication with the shore, and from some cause, such as a current carrying the raft on a course parallel with the beach, the grapple shot is fired over the line paid out from the stranded vessel, so as to pass between the vessel and the buoy; then, by hauling the attached shot-line, the flukes grapple the ship's line, and enable the life-saving crew on shore to secure the line from the vessel.
A range of 325 yards has been obtained with this shot with a charge of six ounces of powder, which is remarkably
good; but the average range may be taken as 200 yards with a charge of two ounces of powder.
Great advantages would be derived if vessels in this country, as well as in America, were compelled to carry a gun, shot and line, as in the majority of cases it is far easier for those on board the ship to throw a shot on the shore with a line attached to it, than it is for the life-saving crews on shore to throw a shot over the ship; in the first place, a ship is a small object to hit, and the line may fall in some inaccessible place, where the exhausted and, perhaps, halffrozen crew cannot reach it, whereas those on the ship have the whole shore to aim at.
Most wrecks occur with an on-shore gale; consequently the shot fired from the ship would generally fly with the wind; whereas the shot fired from shore has to carry a heavy line out against the gale, thus diminishing its range, and if the wind is not directly on the shore, it blows the shot and line so far out of their course as to make the task of hitting the vessel very difficult.
The only outlay involved by this suggestion is that of the shot, as the gun could be used for ordinary signals, and the special line and faking-box might be dispensed with, though their use should be preferred.
The labour of hauling the mortar-car through the soft sand of the beaches, in teeth of a blinding gale, being so severe, every effort is made to reduce the weight as much as possible. The articles carried in the car are-the gun and its bed, hauling lines, hawser, sand anchor, crotch, and life-car, making a total weight of 1,700 lbs., or over 15 cwt.
By substituting the breeches-buoy for the life-car, the weight is reduced to 1,500 lbs., or nearly 13 cwt.; but even then this load has to be dragged by seven men, making a weight of 214 lbs. per man. It will therefore be apparent