Ship Wrecks: San Francisco 1800s


March 26, 1898, San Francisco Call, San Francisco

The Wreck of the Bobolink.


The schooner started out with the land breeze from Mendocino City last Thursday, but became becalmed and drifted ashore. One of the crew lost his life while trying to reach land. The vessel will be a total loss, but her cargo of lumber will probably be saved.


The Schooner Bobolink Lost on the Coast of Mendocino. 
Peter Nelson Lost His Life 
While Attempting to Reach the Shore.

Dog From the Helen W. Almy Washed Ashore 
Near the Oceanside House.

Another vessel has been wrecked on the coast. The schooner Bobolink left Mendocino City last Thursday morning with every prospect of making a quick passage to San Francisco. The land breeze carried her off the coast, but it soon fell light and the schooner began to drift. Everything posible was done to save her, but before nightfall she was hard and fast on Kents Point, near Mendocino City. An attempt was made to get her off, and while the men were at work one of the boats capsized, and Peter Nelson was drowned.

The Bobolink was loaded with lumber for the Mendocino Lumber Company, and while the vessel will probably be a total loss, the chances are that the cargo will be saved. The schooner was built in 2868 in Oakland Creek, and was 161.67 tons net burden. She was 104 feet 5 inches long, 29 feet 3 inches broad and 8 feet 9 Inches deep.

The American ship Susquehanna sailed yesterday for New l'ork in command of Captain Sewell who took charge of the vessel at the last minute. Captain Laflin cleared the vessel, but he will remain here a few days and will then go East to take command of another of the Sewell fleet.

The Susquehanna has a cargo that would make her a valuable capture for a Spanish cruiser in the event of war. Among her cargo is 5470 pigs of lead, 142,646 pounds of beans, 601,069 pounds of borax, 184,267 feet of hardwood lumber, 28,970 cases and 254 barrels of salmon, 13S tons copper matte and 305,803 gallons of wine . . .

Nearly the entire fleet of coasting steamers has been withdrawn from the regular channels and is now engaged in the Dyea-Skaguay trade. Twenty-six San Francisco-owned steam schooners are running between Portland, Seattle and Tacoma and Juneau, Dyea and Skaguay. Beside these there are thirteen other steamers now on the way here from Eastern points to join in the general rush, so a big break in rates may be expected before many weeks are over.

The three-pile beacon on the end of the shoal at the entrance to Mare Island Strait, San Pablo Bay, has been destroyed. The piles remain and are just awash at high water. The beacon is to be rebuilt as soon as practicable. The crews of the life saving stations have been patrolling the beach from Point Lobos south to Point San Pedro for the last few days in the hope of picking up something that might come ashore from the wreck of the Helen W. Almy. Yesterday while near the Ocean- Bide House they found the remains of a black doc. It wore a muzzle, also a steel collar, on which was engraved "Nigger Bohen." H. Mohns of Mohns & Kattenbach asserts most positively that there was no dog on the Almy when she sailed. Others say, however, that Captain Hogan owned a dog called "Nigger Bohen," and that it went to sea with him.

Captain Hodgson of the Fort Point life saving station is going out on the lighthouse tender Madronato destroy the wreck of the Almy. Until that is accomplished the old hulk will be marked at night with a red light. The tug Vigilant returned from a search after what was supposed to be a vessel in distress yesterday.

The Point Reyes observer thought he saw a vessel sending up rockets and notified the tug office. Captain Sllovich searched the coast from Point Bonita to Tomales and saw no trace of a wreck so he came to the conclusion that the rockets were fired by some vessel in want of a pilot.

The Authority to Sail.The Authority to Sail: The History of U.S. Maritime Licenses and Seamen's PapersThe Authority to Sail.
Robert Stanley Bates, George Marsh (Editor), John F. Whiteley (Forward) (Batek Marine Publishing, 2011; Nominated in 2012 for a Pulitzer Prize)
This book depicts important aspects of our maritime history as a result of original research done by the author, Commodore Bates, the holder of an unlimited master's license who has enjoyed a distinguished fifty-year career in both the Coast Guard and the American Merchant Marine.

The U.S. Coast Guard issues all Captain Licenses for U.S. Ports.
Note: Other countries have different regulations, i.e. the RYA (Royal Yachting Association), conducts certification for Britain and Ireland. As of 2011, they did not recognize the USCG certification; certification through their courses was required.

Master Unlimited is a licensed mariner in ultimate command of a vessel any gross tons. The captain is responsible for its safe and efficient operation, including cargo operations, navigation, crew management and ensuring that the vessel complies with local and international laws. All persons on board, including officers and crew, other shipboard staff members, passengers, guests and pilots, are under the captain's authority and are his or her ultimate responsibility. The STCW defines the Master as Person having command of the ship.

The Sea Chart
The Illustrated History of Nautical Maps and Navigational ChartsThe Sea Chart.
The Sea Chart.The Sea Chart.
John Blake
The sea chart was one of the key tools by which ships of trade, transport and conquest navigated their course across the oceans. Herein is a history and development of the chart and the related nautical map, in both scientific and aesthetic terms, as a means of safe and accurate seaborne navigation. 150 color illustrations including the earliest charts of the Mediterranean made by 13th-century Italian merchant adventurers, as well as 18th-century charts that became strategic naval and commercial requirements and led to Cook's voyages in the Pacific, the search for the Northwest Passage, and races to the Arctic and Antarctic.

Get Your Captain's License. Fifth Edition Get Your Captain's License. Fifth Edition. Charlie  Wing.
Charlie Wing
Considered the quickest, easiest, and least expensive way to prepare for the U.S. Coast Guard captain's ratings exams required for anyone who takes paying passengers on a boat, and useful for serious boaters who want to save money on insurance. 350 pages of seamanship and navigation tutorials. More than 1,500 questions and answers from the Coast Guard exams. Includes an interactive CD-ROM with all 14,000 questions and answers in the USCG database, so you can take an unlimited number of practice exams

The Project

Maritime Nations, Ships, Sea Captains, Merchants, Merchandise, Ship Passengers and VIPs sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s.



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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; CDNC: California Digital Newspaper Collection; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; and Maritime Museums and Collections in Australia, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, etc.

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