To the EDITOR of the MERCURY.
Sir,—My duty as Man and a Christian induces me to make you acquainted with the following melancholy catastrophe, which took place off Skegness on the 3d instant, trusting you will insert it in your paper; and I hope It may be read by some person who is a member of the Humane Society, and who will use his influence in getting a Life Boat established near or at Skegness, on the Lincolnshire coast, where I am confident it would be the means of many seaman being snatched from a watery grave.
It blowing a strong gale of wind from the N.N.E., which quarter makes a tremendous sea, and a heavy surf along shore, about 9 a.m. a small boat was observed off Skegness from tbe Northward in the greatest distress; two hands only were seen by the people along shore, although no doubt there were two men and a woman on board, being the complement on board the vessel to which the boat belonged.
Distressing indeed was the sight when the boat, after being buffetted about for a short time by the waves, at length upset.
But one hand was clinging to her side, the others having been swallowed up by the foaming billows; a sea struck her as she lay keel upwards and righted her; the man that was clinging to her side succeeded in getting on board again, but was to survive only for a short time.
The sensation it caused in the breasts of those onshore is better imagined than described.
The farmers sent their horses to assist the fishermen in getting down their boat, as they were anxious to save life, if possible; but seeing that they could not save those in the boat, the fishermen relinquished going off — Messrs. Claringbold and Drayson, officers of the coast guard, actuated with sensations of hope that life might not be extinct, and roused with the sympathy to save life if possible, then voluntarily came forward, and with the fishermen (Moody, Smalley, Hutchinson, and Green), with great difficulty got tbe boat through the surf, but, alas, their efforts to save the ship’s boat were vain; they were toobligated to return to the shore.
About half an hour after they returned, the boat came ashore, proving to belong to the Snowdrop, of Boston, with one oar and a bed-rug (for a sail), which was lashed to tbe ring in her bows, with some wearing apparel, and two hammock blankets.
Spectator. Skegness, May 17th, 1824.
Source: Stamford Mercury – Friday 28 May 1824