March 27, 1915 (12th Parliament, 5th Session)


John Douglas Hazen (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Conservative (1867-1942)


I have here a memorandum prepared by Admiral Kingsmill, in consequence of my hon. friend's request:
Memorandum for the Deputy Minister.
Regarding your request for a note giving reasons why there are no life saving stations on the river St. Lawrence: On the upper part of the St. Lawrence there is no necessity for any station, as vessels getting into difficulties are not likely to be completely wrecked so as to endanger the crew.
The lower part of the St. Lawrence is populated nearly all along its entire banks for a long way down, by farmers, etc., and If a small vessel is wrecked, until you get Into the gulf there are seldom heavy enough seas to break up a vessel before the persons on board could get ashore. I believe, several years ago it was proposed to erect a station in Chaleur bay but I can find no record of anything having been done.
As to establishing stations now on the lower part of the St. Lawrence and the gulf, I see less reason for it than in the past. At present, in the fishing communities there are so many large and well equipped motor boats that there would be no difficulty in getting men to go to a wreck if necessary, while the difficulty of proper supervision of a station districts is so great in these outlying districts. I could not recommend the establishment of them. .
There is no doubt a considerable feeling about, that had there been a life saving station in the vicinity more lives would have been saved when the Empress of Ireland sank off Father Point. A collision in open water is no reason for establishing life saving stations. Had there been a station near at hand it would have meant one more boat to assist in rescue work. The chances of collisions taking place in the vicinity of life saving stations are remote, it is impossible to provide against such accidents. That is Admiral Kingsmiill's opinion.

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