The Coastguard Cutter Vol6 No5

The Coastguard Cutter
May 08 Edition
Vol 6 No. 05.

"The Lady Margaret"



Hello Friend,

Some leases of Coastguard stations on our coasts permitted the men to gather seaweed on the foreshore of the station. Seaweed was an excellent fertiliser and used by the men on their vegetable plots. It is very possible that a small income could also come from the sale of these weeds.



Load of  KelpSeaweed or Kelp was harvested from the rocks at low tide. Drying before being burnt  in a peat fire in a trench cut in the ground. As in the West of Scotland the kelp industry began in the eighteenth century as a source of alkali. When cheaper ways of producing alkali were discovered it went into decline, to be revived in the succeeding century as a source of iodine, once again to decline and to be revived in the twentieth century as a source of alginates.

Melancholy Accident - 7 lives lost.

On Wednesday last a boat with seven persons in it, was employed off the shores of Rosstrunk, within 4 miles of Newport, in gathering sea rack, when by a sudden squall it was upset, and melancholy to relate, 7 persons, 6 men and 1 woman were drowned. By the exertions of the Water Guards 3 of the party were saved. We understand 5 of the bodies were found and buried on Friday.

Ref: Dublin Evening Mail 22nd.April 1835


"Sea weed, which is eagerly sought after and collected by the families residing near the shore, is also very largely used both by itself and mixed into a compost with sea-sand"

Ref: "A Topographical Directory of Ireland" by Samuel Lewis.  1837

Killorglin - Fatal Accident.

On the evening of Friday last, as a boat from the Lanne was returning laden with sea-weed, from Inch Bar, and just as she turned to Point of Cromane  a sudden squall came upon her and she sank, when, melancholy to relate the crew consisting of 4 men met a watery grave. A female who accompanied them was fortunate to grasp 2 of the oars of the boat, and thus succeeded in remaining afloat until the Coastguards of the Cromane Station were able to approach and rescue her.

Ref: Daily Express Tuesday 29th.June 1852.

R.N.L.I. Award 1865

TAYLOR, WILLIAM. Chief Officer, Coastguard, Roberts Cove Silver Medal

On the 29th.December 1865 the Italian barque ‘Lidia’ was wrecked at Roberts Cove in a gale and terrific sea. Mr. Taylor and five of his men put off in a coastguard galley and saved the 13 man crew.

Ref: “Lifeboat Gallantry” by Barry Cox

Seaweed and Undertakers.

Long before the foam rubber era, undertakers had considered how to make their coffins more comfortable for their hosts. They arrived at the unusual conclusion that a particular type of seaweed would provide the softest padding for the interiors of their coffins. The long thin streamer-like seaweed at  Portmarnock, Co.Dublin, was known locally as “Wothar” or “Wore”. For a time, this particular seaweed was used by coffin makers and undertakers as padding for their caskets, after being thoroughly dried in the sun and air. This seaweed was harvested by the local inhabitants and was an extra source of revenue for some time

Local farmers collected it each year and used it to cover turnips which were gathered into heaps in the fields. The seaweed provided insulation for turnips and indeed potatoes, from the sharp frosts of late autumn and winter.

Ref; “The Velvet Strand” by Tadgh Kennedy. P.95.

A Seaweed boat. 1855.

May 29. – A boat laden with seaweed, and with a crew of two men and two girls, was upset by shipping a sea near Crone Island, County Donegal. One girl was drowned. The three others, after holding on to the boat’s keel for an hour, were taken off in an exhausted state by four men in another boat, who had seen the accident; and, after throwing over half their cargo of seaweed, rowed with difficulty to the spot. Reward, £2.

Ref; The Life-Boat.  April 1856.

A Square Meal.
In good weather, crew's mess was a warm meal served on square wooden platters.
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.
The devil seam was the curved seam in the deck planking closest to the side of the ship and next to the scupper gutters. If a sailor slipped on the deck he could find himself  Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.

 Revenue Fleet NewsRevenue Fleet News

On the 21st may 1815 the full rigged ship Cumberland, 340 tons, lay becalmed on a glassy sea, a frustrating conclusion to a voyage from Jamaica. Hour by hour she drifted with the tide close to Rathlin, ultimately striking a sunken rock and wedging hard aground. Owing to the activities of smugglers, H.M.Cruisers constantly patrolled the waters between Rathlin and Kintyre, and the Wickham, under Captain Fullerton, came alongside the Cumberland and took off the crew, together with nine puncheons of rum, two bags of pimento and three of coffee. Nothing more was saved, as the luckless ship broke up the next day.



Ref: "Shipwrecks of the Irish Coast" by Ian Wilson. p.136.

UK CG NewsCoastguard News from England

Retirement of a Gallant Coastguard. 1899.

After active service lasting 40 years Mr. J.O.Williams has just retired. As one of her Majesty’s Coastguards for the last nine years he has been stationed at Aldeburgh, that delightful little watering place in Suffolk, just exactly 100 miles from Liverpool.

He is known by repute all the world over. No man living has been instrumental in saving more human lives than he has, and certainly no one else has been so lavishly decorated for gallant deeds or has so conspicuously deserved the distinction..

He was stationed at Holyhead in the latter half of the eighties. By means of the rocket apparatus alone he saved no fewer than 101 lives. He rendered conspicuous service at the wreck of the ‘Missouri’ in 1886. There was a fierce snowstorm raging at the time. Williams’ first shot was successful. A few of the passengers were at once  landed. Then he went to the wreck himself, and from the deck personally directed the rescue of the remainder.  Mr.Williams is still in the prime of his energies, but he is 55, and has to retire.

Ref: The Irish Times  22 July 1899.

Fatal Boating Accident, Margate. 1912.

A young man named Hammond, of Gillingham, Kent, was drowned off Margate owing to the capsizing of a sailing boat in a sudden squall. The boat was being sailed by Hammond’s uncle, a Coastguard named Doughty, and the latter’s son, Stephen Doughty, aged 17, was also on board. The party had sailed from Kingsgate to Margate, and were on their way back, when about 5 o’clock, off the Clifton Baths, the accident occurred. Boats were quickly on the scene, and amid much excitement the two Doughtys were rescued. The elder was clinging to the upturned boat, and his son was grasping an oar. Hammond, however, had sunk.

Ref: The Irish Times 6 August 1912.

Jumped Overboard and Swam a Mile.  1907.

A passenger on the steamer Gwalia, bound from Llfracombe to Barry, jumped overboard in the darkness on Saturday night and swam nearly a mile to shore and attempted to climb the Foreland, a precipitous cliff, being in a perilous position 60 feet up when he called out, and his cries eventually brought a boat from Lynmouth Coastguard station and rescued him with difficulty.

Ref; The Irish Independent  23 September 1907.

 Coming in June Edition.

 Bribery and Collusion.





With more and more people enjoying the beach and sea, the RNLI has never been busier - rescuing an average of 22 people every day. It now costs over £330,000 a day to run this essential service - to train their volunteers and maintain their craft and equipment. So however you choose to support them, every penny really counts.

To donate to the RNLI, simply call 0800 543210 or visit
(for Republic of Ireland call (01) 800 789 589 or visit



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