Sunday, October 16, 2011

SAND MERCHANT Wreck: A Case of Colossal Foolishness

I read Dwight Boyer's book Ships and Men of the Great Lakes.  This book had a story about a sand-sucker ship called the Sand Merchant.  In her heyday she worked on Lake Erie, sucking sand from the lake bottom to be used in making pavement for roads.  

However, on this day is 1936, First Mate Bernie Drinkwater had invited his wife along to take a trip.  This was of course against the rules.  However, this rule was often overlooked by captains. 
Well, sometime during the evening, the Sand Merchant began to list to port.  Whether it was a leak in her ballast tanks or a shifting of her cargo is not known.  Drinkwater roused the other sailors to help prepare the lifeboats but he himself went to calm his wife instead doing his duties.  As a result, they and seventeen others went down with the ship. 

This article includes the account from Dwight Boyer's book and can explain the incident better than I can.

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