The experiments with life saving appliances which Mr. Copeman brought before the delegates of the Colonial Conference, on the 13th April, at the Westminster Aquarium, had a particular interest, due to the late and lamentable accident which befell the Newhaven-Dieppe passenger steamer Victoria. In many cases of this nature, loss of life must rather be attributed to panic than to a want of life saving appliances; but, as a general rule, an abundant supply of such apparatus will tend to give passengers confidence, and prevent the outbreak of such discreditable scenes on the part of passengers as took place on the Victoria.
FIG. 1. - COPEMAN & PINHEY'S LIFE RAFTS.
Messrs. Copeman & Pinhey have, for some years past, done good work in this direction, and at the recent meeting of the Institution of Naval Architects, Mr. Copeman showed several models of the latest types of their life saving apparatus, both for use on torpedo boats and passenger steamers. Our illustration (Fig. 1) represents the kind of rafts supplied to her Majesty's troop ships, while Figs. 2 and 3 show deck seats convertible into rafts, which are intended for ordinary passenger steamers. The raft shown in Fig. 1 consists of two pontoons, joined by strong cross beams, and fitted with mast, sail, and oars. When not in use, the pontoons form deck seats, covered by a wooden grating, which in our illustration forms the middle part of the raft. Each pontoon has a compartment for storing provisions, and when rigged as a raft, there is a railing to prevent persons being washed overboard.
The seat life buoy, shown in Fig. 2, serves as an ordinary deck seat, being about 8 ft. long, and it consists of two portions, hinged at the back. When required for use as a life buoy, it is simply thrown forward, the seat being at the same time lifted upward, so that the top rail of the back engages with the two clips, shown at either end of the seat, and the whole structure then forms a rigid raft, as will be seen from Fig. 3. Several other appliances were shown at the Westminster Aquarium on April 13, but the two rafts we have selected for illustration will give a sufficiently correct idea of the general principles upon which the apparatus is based. - Industries.