Whatever may be the result of the inquiry into the disastrous collision between the Princess Alice and the Bywell Castle, it is to be hoped that some attention will be given to the general subject of screw colliers and the manner in which they are handled. It is notorious that these vessels are the dread of the whole coast as well as of the Thames. Keeping as a rule a very bad look-out or no look-out at all, they steam ahead at full speed; and if one of them chances to run down a small craft, the rule is for her to make the best of her way to the offing. Every careful master, whether of a steamer or a sailing vessel, gives these dangerous craft as wide a berth as possible, feeling assured that no “rule of the road at sea” or other refinement will interfere in the least degree to avert a collision. At the mouth of the Thames and along the east coast they are of course particularly numerous; and if the evidence of pilots, yacht-owners, ship- masters, and boatmen were taken with a View to imposing some restrictions upon the happy-go-lucky navigation of these vessels, the public would probably be surprised at the consensus of condemnation which would be evoked on the present system.


“Home News.” The Pall Mall Budget. 20 (6 September 1878): 28-31.

Last modified 10 August 2018