In order to facilitate communication between a stranded ship and the shore, where conditions prevent the utilization of the rocket life-saving apparatus and render it impossible for a life boat to be launched, the novel stranding buoy shown in the illustration has been devised by Mr. T. Bredsdorff, a director of the Flensburger Shipbuilding Company, of Flensburg, Germany. This device was suggested by the wreck of the English steamer "Berlin" off the coast of Hol land a few months ago, when it was found impossible to succor the wrecked passengers and a heaiy death roll resulted. The distance was too great for the rocket to be fired over the ship. Similar disasters are of frequent occurrence; and as in such circumstances the wind and sea are always driving shoreward, this new buoy should be of great service when other methods fail, since owing to its light draft it can be carried right to the beach. As may be seen from the illustration, the buoy resembles in shape a small boat fitted with a sail and with a light rope connected to the stern, which after launching is paid out from a revolv ing reel on the deck of the wrecked boat, and which when picked up on the shore serves to enable a heavier cable, capable of carrying the life-saving cradle, to be hauled shoreward. The buoy is 3 feet in length by 18 inches beam, 12 inches deep, and draws 8 inches of water. It is strongly constructed of yellow metal and copper with the ribs or frames of metal, and tin coated, and with a rounded deck. There is a heavy lead keel tapering both fore and aft, so that the boat can always maintain an even keel, no matter how rough the sea or surf. Aft of the mast, which is placed well for ward, are two water-tight bulkheads, dividing the inter nal space into three water-tight compartments, in which a small supply of provisions, ships' papers, or other communications can be placed, and which minimize possibility of the buoy foundering by colli sion with wreckage or rocks. The center com partment is fitted with a water tight cover 5 inches in diameter, and similar covers at either end close the fore and aft compart ments. There are four hand grips placed on the outside of the buoy, one on either side and fore and aft, which not only serve for the purpose of making fast the line, or landing the buoy by means of a boathook, but also af ford facilities for persons in the water to keep afloat, since the buoy will sup port three people. The mast is made of brass piping, formed at the top into an oblong ring, to which the sail is made fast and stayed, and which is used for launching and picking up the buoy. The sail is of strong waterproof canvas mounted with yards of Spanish reed or fish bone at top and bottom. On the foreside the sail forms a triangular bag, by which the buoy is always kept to the wind. Aft of the mast is a small bell, the sounding of which is useful for locating the buoy in the darkness. The light pilot line connected to the buoy is some 500 yards in length, wound up on a reel and placed beside the buoy on the captain's bridge, being only connected when the buoy is about to be launched. Tests with the apparatus have shown that when it is thrown overboard in a heavy wind blowing on shore, it travels at a speed ranging from 1 to 1% knots per hour, and invariably is caught up by the rollers and 357 thrown well on the beach, so that it can lie easily secured Iiy those on shore, and the heavier carrying rope can either be hauled from the vessel ? ? shore or rice rrrsa by means of the light pilot line. The apparatus is also capable of a variety of other applications, such as the transmission of ropes in tow- ing in a rough sea, the hauling alongside and making fast of pilot boats and lifeboats, which otherwise would be impossible owing to the seaway. It is also suggested that the buoy should be carried on every vessel, so that in the event of a ship foundering in mid-ocean the ship's papers could be placed in it, and the buoy cut adrift to be picked up by some other craft or on some coast. It would be more efficient for this purpose than Mie bottle or barrel generally adopted. The buoy is painted a bright red, or given a brilliant polish, and with its while sail it is a con spicuous object during the daytime, while the tinkling of the bell facilitates its recovery during the night.
This article was originally published with the title "The Bredsdorff Stranding Buoy" in Scientific American 97, 20, 356-357 (November 1907)