|10 March 2000|
Old Boatshed To Go
A piece of the chequered history of sheds to house Sumner lifeboats will be gone soon.
It is the shed at Shag Rock. It could be gone within weeks and another piece of Sumner lifeboat history confined to the reference books.
However, it might be gone but not forgotten. Topsy Rule of the Sumner Historical Society says steps to the shed, built in the Depression years, will be preserved and a plaque will be erected to mark the former lifeboat site.
Various lifeboats have been housed on different sites around the district. The original lifeboat, Rescue, was at Cave Rock and then at the Sumner pier.
By 1930, Rescue 11, went to an extended boatshed at Scarborough but silting meant it was difficult to launch the boat.
In 1934-35 talks were held about using the Shag Rock site but it was regarded as unsuitable because of the dangers of launching a boat into rough seas or taking the bar on foggy nights.
However, by 1936 foundations were laid at Shag Rock but work stopped on the shed because a rubble wall did not create a natural scour. Discussions turned to using Scarborough again but in the middle of 1938 the direction of the channel, constant since 1847, changed.
Scarborough was worsened as a launch site and, in March 1940, the Sumner pier boathouse was moved to Shag Rock.
It was used for practise and operations outside the bar and remained in use until late 1962.
It was never ideal because the rescue boat could not be launched for three hours at low tide.
Silting was another problem. However, by the late 1950s thoughts turned to a new Scarborough station and by 1962 the Christchurch City Council provided a boatshed and slipway.
Sea cadets of TS Cornwell later used the Shag Rock shed.
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