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The total appraised value of the property saved or rescued from perilous situations during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1915, was $11,088,730, while the total expenditure for the maintenance of this life-saving agency was $5,027,752.71.
The foregoing summary reprosents the principal activities of the Revenue-Cutter Service and the Life-Saving Service as separato organizations from July 1, 1914, to January 28, 1915, the date of the passage of the Coast Guard act, together with those of the Coast Guard from the date of its establishment to June 30, 1915. In comparing similar statistics, covering the work accomplished by the two services while operating as separate organizations, it should be noted that where crews of life-saving stations and revenue cutters were cooperating in rescue work there was unavoidably more or less duplication in the tabulated reports. The statistical account of, the work of the Coast Guard has been compiled on the plan adopted some years ago by the Revenue-Cutter Service, namely, separating instances of wreck and rescue work where no estimate of the money value of the assistance can be made from those of a determinate value, and including, the former under the caption “Miscellaneous assistance rendered;" and in compiling this statistical account for the Life-Saving Service for the period from July 1, 1914, to January 28, 1915, the same plan has been followed. While under this plan the aggregate of rescue work appears to be of less magnitude in terms of money, it may be observed that the effective energies of the Coast Guard already have been found to measure up satisfactorily to the duties hitherto required of, and accomplished by, its constituent parts.
The equipment of the Coast Guard consists of 24 cruising cutters, 18 harbor cutters, and 279 coast stations. The activities of the cutters and stations during the year resulted in 1,507 lives saved from jeopardy; 1,504 instances of assistance whereby vessels and their cargoes valued at $11,088,730 were saved; and 556 cases of other services, which include instances where the assistance rendered could not be appraised, or the aid given was not deemed of sufficient importance to be classified as “lives and property saved,” and unsuccessful attempts at rescue.
It is impracticable to set out in detail all the miscellaneous services rendered through the agencies of the Coast Guard or to assign a definite value as representing the material benefits of such efforts, but the nature and number of these miscellaneous activities entitle them to conspicuous notice in the narrative of service operations during the year. They cover a wide and diversified range of action in the prevention and amelioration of all sorts of distressing conditions wherever found. Without attempting to catalogue the entire list, it includes warnings to vessels running into danger; medical and surgical aid to the sick and injured; recovery and burial of bodies cast up by the waters; extinguishing fires at wharves, dwellings, and business structures, and fighting forest fires; cooperating with local authorities in the maintenance of public order, and apprehending thieves and other lawbreakers; preventing suicide; restoring lost children to their parents; recovering stolen property and salving miscellaneous articles from danger or destruction; acting as pilots in cases of emergency; furnishing food, water, and fuel to vessels in distress; pro
tecting wrecked property; and furnishing transportation and assistance to other branches of the public service.
It is interesting to note that during the entire year there were but five days when at least one unit of the Coast Guard was not actively engaged in wreck or rescue work, and that the number of instances of rendering assistance averaged over 6 a day, while the maximum number in any one day was 36. As each of these instances represents an emergency requiring prompt action, the foregoing affords a fair illustration of the activity of the service and the state of preparedness in which it must be maintained. It also indicates that there is but little time when the Coast Guard is not actively occupied in duties of the highest importance--highest because it is in the interest of humanity and of the public welfare along the enormous stretch of our coast lines.
The various operations of the Coast Guard are set forth under the appropriate heads below.
Assistance to vessels in distress.
In addition to the patrols constantly maintained during the active season by the station crews along the shore and the regular cruising of the cutters offshore, the latter are charged with special watchfulness and activity during the stormy winter months on the Atlantic coast.
A description of the work of the cutters and stations in relieving distress forms an interesting series of marine mishaps. These are extended over all the coasts of the United States where Coast Guard stations are located, and the various waters, local and territorial, where cutters are stationed. The entire Atlantic coast, from Maine to Texas, the coast of Porto Rico, the waters of the Great Lakes, the Pacific coast, and the waters of the Hawaiian Islands and Alaska are all included in the reports herein detailed and the summaries. In the following will be found brief mention of some of the most important and interesting incidents of the year:
Steamer “Sable 1."-At 2.45 p. m., July 28, 1914, a radiogram was received by the Seneca, at that time off Cape Race, Newfoundland, from the British steamer Sable 1, stating that she was disabled 10 miles W. ^ N. of Cape Race and requesting assistance. At 4 p. m. the Seneca came up with the disabled steamer and sent an oflicer aboard to ascertain conditions. Her engine was found to be totally disabled and, as it was out of the question to make sufficient repairs to reach port, her master requested a tow to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Accordingly, the Seneca's 10-inch hawser was run to the steamer's port bow and at 5 p. m. the cutter started with the Sable I in tow. The weather continued favorable and good progress was made on the 29th and 30th and the steamer was turned over to the tug Togo off Georges Island, Halifax, Nova Scotia, after being towed 486 miles. The Sable I was a new steamer, valued at $100,000, and had a $20,000 cargo aboard consigned from Glasgow, Scotland, to Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Schooner“ Emily P. Wright."-On the morning of August 27, 1914, a man appeared at the Brazos Coast Guard Station, Tex., and announced himself as one of the crew of 11 men of the schooner Emily P. Wright, which had been wrecked on the Mexican coast 140
miles south of the station on the 23d. It appears that he and other members of the schooner's crew, reaching shore in a small boat and upon pieces of wreckage, had struck out up the beach in the hope of finding succor He himself, of greater endurance than the others, had gone on ahead of the shipwrecked party to find help, leaving his shipmates, weak from hunger, to follow after as best they might. The Coast Guard crew promptly launched their surfboat and set out down the coast. Seven miles below their station they picked up two of the sailors. Continuing on southward, they found and took on board other members of the schooner's crew at different places until all hands but the master had been accounted for. All of those now in the care of the station crew were of the opinion that their captain, an old man, had perished, as he had given out, apparently, not over 40 miles from the place where the vessel was lost. The men thus far picked up were in a pitiable condition, having been five days without food. Moreover, all were ill and some were naked. They were therefore hurried back to the station, where medicine, nd clothing could be obtained, and the Coast Guard men continued the search for the master. They found him on the Mexican coast, 35 miles from the Brazos station. He was entirely helpless, and the rescuing party of four-part of the crew having left the boat and taken to the beach 25 miles to the northward-were compelled to carry him nearly every foot of the distance to the place where they had come ashore. They returned to their station at 6 p. m., having been engaged upon their errand of rescue fully 16 hours. By September 3 the 11 men composing the shipwrecked crew were so far on the road to recovery that the station keeper took them to Brownsville and arranged for their transportation to Galveston.
Flatboat.-Shortly after 11 a. m., August 29, 1914, the lookout of the Louisville, Ky., station sighted a flatboat that had swamped just below the cross dam of the falls of the Ohio. Members of the station crew covered the half mile or more to the scene of the accident in seven minutes, and took three men, all that were aboard the flat, from rocks protruding above the swift current. The boat in the case was destroyed in the turmoil of the rock-studded water. That the occupants also were not lost was due entirely to the early appearance of the Coast Guard crew on the scene of the casualty.
Three sailboats.-About 9 o'clock in the morning, September 8, 1914, the keeper of the City Point, Mass., station received word that the catboat Dawdle was somewhere offshore with a man and six boys on board. As the sea was rough at the time, the crew of the station named put off in the service steamer Relief in search of the boat. They found her seven miles SSE. of their station, near Princess Head, with her rudder broken. She had been out all night in a gale. When the Coast Guard crew overhauled her the boys were in a frenzy of fright. They were transferred to the Relief and the boat was taken in tow. While they were on their way back to the station the service crew sighted a boat ashore on Long Island, with an ensign in her rigging, union down. Going alongside, they found her to be the catboat Mizpah, with 10 persons on board. After much difficulty they succeeded in placing a sling around her bottom and pulling her off. Resuming their way shoreward with the two boats in tow, they came across still a third vessel, an unnamed sloop, ashore. Complying with the request of her master for assistance, they hauled her off
into deep water. She also was placed in tow of the Relief, and all three boats, with the 18 persons found aboard of them, were carried safe into harbor.
Steamer “Hanalei.”-On November 23, 1914, during the prevalence of a fog, this steamer, bound from Eureka to San Francisco, Cal., with a cargo of lumber and general merchandise, got off her course and ran into a reef off Point Bolinas, 14 miles north of the Golden Gate. She carried a crew of 30, and 36 passengers, 14 of whom were women and children. She lay upon the reef in the heavy fog from noon of the 23d until about 4 a. m. of the 24th, when she broke up. Twenty-three of those on board-10 members of the crew and 13 passengers—lost their lives, either being drowned, suffocated by oil liberated from the vessel's' fuel tanks, or killed by floating wreckage. Thirty persons were rescued by the crew of the Golden Gate Coast Guard Station, working from the shore, and 13 by the Point Bonita Coast Guard crew and the crew of the Coast Guard cutter McCulloch, operating from outside. It is doubtful if in the annals of shipwreck any was ever before reported as having occurred within the scope of the Coast Guard establishment which was attended by so many dramatic incidents and spectacular features, or one where those whose lives were in peril were subjected to so long a period of mental distress while waiting for their vessel to break up under them, or compelled to face a more terrifying ordeal after that event took place. There certainly could not be a shipwreck in which the individual examples of heroism, self-sacrifice, and humanitarian service on the part of the rescuers could be more numerous or more praiseworthy.
One of the keepers at San Francisco transported the truck and beach gear from Sausalito to the scene of the wreck -a distance of 60 miles over one of the roughest and narrowest highways in the State of California—at night in order to make an attempt to rescue the people from shore. The vessel finally broke up and the ship, wrecked people were thrown into the water. Many of them grasped disintegrated parts of the vessel, and from this predicament were rescued by the Coast Guard men. In some instances the rescuers joined hands and formed a living chain in their efforts to reach the victims. Nearly all of those who met death in the water were killed by inhaling the floating oil into their lungs. Those saved from the catastrophe were taken on board the McCulloch and given first-aid treatment by the officers and men on board. They were carried to the cabin and stripped and their noses and throats freed from oil and their limbs chafed. Stimulants were also administered, and those in need of further restorative treatment were subjected to artificial respiration. On entering the Golden Gate the harbor cutter placed on board several surgeons and nurses of the Public Health Service, who took charge of the patients. Taken altogether, this was the most thrilling wreck encountered by the Coast Guard during the entire year.
Schooner “Mary W. Bowen.”—On December 10, 1914, the Itasca received word that the schooner Mary W. Bowen was in distress at anchor 36 miles N. by } E. from Cape Charles Light Vessel. The cutter steamed for the vessel, and at 11.50 p. m. found the fivemasted schooner at anchor riding out a gale. It appears that in trying to get up the anchors the windlass engine became disabled and
that the small crew could not handle the same. The Itasca anchored for the night and at daylight ran a 9-inch line to the vessel and sent on board a warrant officer and 14 men, who succeeded after great difficulty in securing the anchors and chain. The vessel was then towed to the entrance of Chesapeake Bay and turned over to a tug.
Steamer “ Camino.”—On January 20, 1915, the American steamer Camino, loaded with food supplies for the Belgian Relief Committee, became disabled at sea, and was being towed to Halifax by the Canadian Government steamer Lady Laurier and the British steamer kanauha, and expecting bad weather a radio call for assistance was sent to the Coast Guard cutter Androscoggin, which was cruising in the vicinity, carrying aid to American fishermen. The Kanawha was ahead towing and the Lady Laurier was acting as a rudder. The steel hawser of the Kanawha parted during a squall, and the master of the Camino then requested the Androscoggin to run him a line, the cutter having reached the scene in the meantime. A 10-inch manila hawser was accordingly put on board the disabled vessel and she was towed until 7 p. m. on the 23d, when the Androscoggin became unmanageable, owing to the heavy weather, and the hawser had to be Cast off. The Kanawha then ran a hawser, and on the 25th, during a severe snowstorm, this also parted. The Androscoggin stood by the Camino until the morning of the 26th, when tugs from Halifax came out and towed her into that harbor. The whole affair was a continuous struggle against adverse conditions-gales, weather, and seas. Several men were injured on board the steamer, whereupon the surfboat from the Androscoggin was lowered in a heavy sea and the injured men taken from the Camino when she was rolling bulwarks under every few minutes. These were given medical treatment on board the cutter.
Steamer “Santa Marta.”—The Onondaga, on February 19, 1915, received radio advices that the American steamer Santa Marta was disabled with a broken rudder stock in latitude 35° 29' north, longitude 74° 35' west. She proceeded immediately to the scene, encountering en route a fresh northeast gale and heavy sea. At 6.20 p. m., February 20, she sighted the steamer; the wind was still blowing a moderate gale and a high sea was running. As the sea was too heavy to lower a boat she stood by the disabled vessel until the following day. A wrecking tug arrived in the meantime, having been previously engaged by the master of the steamer, and ran a line to the Santa Marta. The tug then started to tow the disabled vessel, but she yawed wildly, and on the morning of the 22d the tow line parted. It being apparent that the tug could not handle the steamer alone the Onondaga stood over and ran a 12-inch line to the Santa Marta's stern. 'The tug then started ahead with her tow, with the Onondaga towing astern, her engines stopped, and steering the steamer. At the request of the master of the Santa Marta the Onondaga steered the steamer to the entrance of New York Harbor. The presence of the Onondaga was a necessity throughout, as the wrecking tug was unable to steer the steamer alone.
Tug “ Edward Luckenbach.”—The stranding of this tug, April 3, 1915, on the Virginia coast between Little Island and False Cape Coast Guard station was the most serious disaster of the year on the Atlantic coast. Of her crew of 17, only 2 were saved, 1 from the surf and