Video: Daniel Matthews
Hi. Welcome to the oldest life saving station in the Great Lakes. This is the site of the oldest station that was started in November, 1872. This was er when it started there was a coxswain who was paid a salary of $75 a year and $1.50 a drill, and the crew members were paid $1.50 a drill. They had a 25 foot self-righting, self-bailing vessel at that time.
Around you there are some pictures of other vessels that have served here. The centre one is the current vessel that is serving. It’s an American designed 47 foot motor lifeboat. Ironically it is the self-righting boat so it took about a hundred years to get back to that design where we had self-righting, so this boat will roll over, that’s how it’s designed. And the previous boat we had, so that was the Advent, it was a DFO research vessel we used for probably about ten years here. It wasn’t purpose-built for search and rescue but we modified it to carry out that function. And before that, served for a lot of years, was the S class, they’re a wooden hull, probably a speed of about 14 knots. You can see it’s a rough day on that one, and we lived aboard that boat, so that back then there were four crew and we lived aboard. That was about 70 feet long, the new one is only 47 feet and this one was about also 70 feet long.
How long have you been serving here, Captain?
I’ve been here probably 25 years. Yes, that’s…
That’s a good service.
Yes, it’s coming to an end (laughter) within two years.
I understand that this building was once the home of the lighthouse keeper.
Yes. This is the old light keeper’s house. We’ve extended it and made it a little bigger for our four-man crew. But this is where the light keeper lived with his family and then he serviced the light at the end of the pier.