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64TH CONGRESS, Į HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
18t Session
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REPORT No. 356.

CUTTERS FOR THE COAST GUARD.

MARCH 14, 1916.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the state

of the Union and ordered to be printed.

Mr. DEWALT, from the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Com

merce, submitted the following

REPORT.

[To accompany S. 2719.)

The Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, to whom was referred the bill (S. 2719) providing for the purchase or construction of cutters for the Coast Guard, having considered the same, report thereon with a recommendation that it pass.

The following is the report of the Senate Committee on Commerce on this bill:

The Committee on Commerce, to whom was referred the bill (S. 2719) providing for the purchase or construction of cutters for the Coast Guard, having considered the same, report thereon with a recommendation that it pass without amendment.

The bill has the approval of the Department of the Treasury, as will appear by the following letter, which is made a part of this report:

TREASUBY DEPARTMENT,
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY,

Washington, December 30, 1915. The CHAIRMAN COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE,

United States Senate. SIR: I am in receipt of your letter of the 23d instant, inclosing a copy of a bill (S. 2719) providing for the purchase or coustruction of cutters for the Coast Guard, and requesting the views of the department concerning the bill.

The matter of new cutters for the Coast Guard is one of the greatest importance. Congress, by wise legislation, has made it possible to place the personnel of this valuable branch of the Government in a state of efficiency, both for its humanitarian duties of life and property saving in time of peace and for its military duties in time of war. An organization of this kind in accomplishing its work depends upon its personnel and equipment about equally. To have an efficient personnel and inadequate equipment for the proper performance of the duties assigned to them is, of course, not consistent with proper administration. For that reason, in my last annual report, I particularly emphasized the need of new vessels for the Coast Guard, and it is gratifying to know that this bill has been introduced and referred to your committee, as it embodies the recommendations of this department. The vessels enumerated in the bill are needed for the following reasons:

1. Two new cutters for the Pacific coast, at a total cost of $700,000. Two cutters attached to the Bering Sea patrol fleet, the Perry and Tahoma, were lost in the waters of Alaska in 1910 and 1914, respectively, by striking uncharted reefs. Every effort has been made to have these vessels replaced, as their services are sorely Deeded, so much so that the department is seriously embarrassed in its endeavor to properly fulfill our international agreement to patrol the waters of the Bering Sea for

2

OUTTERS FOR THE COAST GUARD.

the protection of the seal herds on the Pribilof Islands. The two new vessels are to replace the Perry and Tahoma, and it is strongly urged that they be authorized at the earliest practicable time.

2. One new harbor cutter for New York, at a cost of $125,000. This is to replace the existing cutter Manhattan, a vessel of the tugboat type now 42 years old. There have been repeated recommendations regarding the replacement of this vessel, and it is with great difficulty that she is able to perform any service at all in connection with her important duties of enforcing the anchorage laws in the waters of New York Harbor. At best she can only be used in fair weather, and she is so slow, owing to her worn-out machinery, that it is almost impossible to cover the district assigned her. In order to keep certain parts of the harbor clear of ice in extremely cold weather, it is proposed to design this new vessel with special reference to breaking ice in the channels when the requirements of commerce make it necessary. Plans for this vessel are already prepared, and it is very urgent that the appropriation be made for her at the earliest practicable time.

3. Two or more cutters, in a total sum not to exceed $50,000.

This is to cover the cost of replacing the old Coast Guard cutter Hartley, now engaged in customs duty in San Francisco Harbor, and to provide two fast motor launches to be used in patroling the shoal waters along certain of our borders. The Hartley is · Dow 40 years old, and as she was built of wood is now practically worn out, both as to hull and machinery. The boat is not worth rebuilding. In April, 1914, without accident of any kind, she began to fill at her dock and was quickly taken to shoal water, where she sank. She was subsequently raised and again put in service, but if this accident had occurred while she was under way, the lives of her crew and of the customs inspectors who are obliged to use the vessel would have been seriously jeopardized. It is hoped to be able to purchase a harbor vessel already built to take her place, as her services are needed just as soon as possible.

4. Three light-draft river cutters for service on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers and their tributaries, at a total cost not to exceed $240,000.

In the last two annual reports of this department Congress has been urged to authorize the construction and maintenance of three light-draft cutters for use on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers and their tributaries. In recent years it has been necessary on occasions of great floods to send Coast Guard crews from the Great Lakes and the coasts for rescue work among the inhabitants of the flooded districts. With the maintenance of three vessels of the kind proposed there will, undoubtedly, be many lives and much property saved upon the occasions of these great floods which occur almost annually. These three rescue boats could follow the crest of the flood from Pittsburgh down to New Orleans, and there is no doubt that the beneficial results of their work will make the small expenditure necessary for their construction and maintenance a very good investment for the Government. At times when floods are not raging, these vessels can be efficiently employed in regulating the vast fleet of motor and other boats on our inland waters, and in rendering assistance to vessels in distress and to exposed property along the water fronts. There are also many occasions when they may be employed in the duty of protecting life and property at regattas and marine pageants, as required by law. It would appear as a general proposition that the people along these great inland waterways have as much right to protection from the elements as those who live along the seacoasts and the Great Lakes. It is estimated that each of these boats could be constructed and equipped with power, lifeboats and all other necessary apparatus for the sum of $80,000. It is earnestly requested that Congress give this matter its attention and that the appropriation be made.

In previous communications to the committee it has been pointed out that to maintain the Coast Guard fleet in an efficient condition there should be authorized two new vessels annually. This has not been done, and the result is that the feet of cruising and harbor cutters is much depleted and far from being in the condition in which they should be maintained. During the past decade the following vessels have been authorized: Vessels.

Vessels. 1905. 1 1911.

0 1906.

2 | 1912, 1907. 1908. 0

2 1909.

0 1910..

2
Total.....

11 Eleven new vessels in 10 years is by no means sufficient to properly maintain the efficiency of the Coast Guard fleet, and this humanitarian branch of the Government is

4 1913....

1914...

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therefore, seriously handicapped in its endeavor to accomplish the work expected
and required of it. In addition it should be noted that 10 of the existing vessels aro
Dow 20 years old or over, 4 of them being over 35 years old.

While it is essential that these new vessels be authorized if the Coast Guard is to
continue to perform the duties required of it in time of peace alone, it should not be
overlooked that the vessels proposed in this bill will be also an asset in the matter of
national preparedness, since in every naval war in which this country has been
engaged the cutters have taken an important part. The experience of the great war in
Europe demonstrates conclusively that small vessels of the types proposed in this
bill are an essential part of naval equipment.
Respectfully,

W. G. MOADOO, Secretary.
O

64TH CONGRESS, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. REPORT

No. 357.

BRIDGE ACROSS WABASH RIVER AT SILVERWOOD,

IND.

MARCH 14, 1916.—Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be printed.

Mr. CULLOP, from the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Com

merce, submitted the following

REPORT.

(T accompany H. R. 13006.)

The Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 13006) to authorize the reconstruction of an existing bridge across the Wabash River at Silverwood, in the State of Indiana, and the maintenance and operation of the bridge so reconstructed, having considered the same, report thereon with amendment, and as so amended recommend that it pass.

The bill as amended has the approval of the War Department, as will appear by the letter attached and which is made a part of this report. Amend the bill as follows: Page 1, line 6, after the word “and," insert the words “maintain

and."

WAR DEPARTMENT, March 11, 1916. Respectfully returned to the chairman Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, House of Representatives.

The Chief of Engineers reports that H. R. 13006, Sixty-fourth Congress, first session, "To authorize the reconstruction of an existing bridge across the Wabash River at Silverwood, in the State of Indiana, and the maintenance and operation of the bridge 80 reconstructed,” by the Toledo, St. Louis & Western Railroad Co. and Walter L. Ross, its receiver, makes ample provision for the protection of the interests committed to the War Department, and I know of no objection to the favorable consideration of the bill by Congress, so far as those interests are concerned.

John C. SCOFIELD, Assistant and Chief Clerk.

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