Sunday, February 12, 2012

Schooner Montrose W. Houck ~ 18 February 1913

Annual Report of the Operatios of the United States Life-Saving Service for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1913:

The 1,104-ton schooner Montrose W. Houck, from Port Tampa, FL, to Baltimore, MD, with a cargo of phosphate rock, misstayed, dragged her anchors, and went ashore a third of a mile east of the Paul Gamiels Hill (NC) Station. Her crew of 9 men were rescued by a boat’s crew of surfmen from the Paul Gamiels Hill, Caffreys Inlet, and Kitty Hawk Stations, after a hard battle in a fresh wind, strong current, and high sea. The vessel and her cargo, having a combined value of $70,000, were totally lost.
     About 1.30 a.m. the north patrol from the first-named station discovered the schooner near the beach and headed directly on shore. The patrol burned a warning signal and the vessel anchored. On learning of her dangerous proximity to the land, keeper Harris sent a telephone call for a revenue cutter in the hope of getting assistance in time to prevent her from coming ashore. Sometime during the forenoon an International Code signal was displayed aboard the schooner asking for assistance. Soon after the signal went up the vessel began to drag. She stranded about 11.45 a.m. 500 yards from the beach.
     After calling up the two adjacent stations, keeper Harris hauled his beach apparatus and surfboat abreast of the vessel. An attempt was promptly made by him to put a No. 7 shot line over her, using 6 ounces of powder. The shot fell short. By this time the two other life saving crews previously mentioned arrived. As the great distance between the schooner and shore rendered the prospect of effecting a rescue by the medium of line communication extremely uncertain, the life savers now resorted to a surfboat, and to such good purpose that the shipwrecked sailors were soon safely landed.

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