The History of Long and Brier Islands

This blog is about Islanders that have found that no one can control the sea and it can be a dangerous place. Some of our Islanders have been caught out when the weather has changed suddenly. This is about six episodes where Islanders have found themselves in trouble with the sea. I have kept it to resent times and you may know some of these people. There is too many stories to include them all, but a few to show that the sea is dominant.

Last Light of Day

Digby Courier; January 12th 1932


Digby Courier; April 26th 1956

Connor Bros. II

Digby Courier; May 10th 1956


Digby Courier; June 14, 1956

Andrew & Jean Elliott
Andrew Elliott
Limanda in Westport with the Fishing Vessel

Dec.17, 1963

Digby Courier; Dec. 26, 1963

Digby Courier Jan. 2, 1964


Digby Courier; Aug. 1, 1985

6 Freeport Hake Boats Caught in Vicious Northeast Gale:….Coast Guard was all ready out on a call down around Yarmouth area. The Kenny and Girls owned by Harold and Roy Graham went to the aid of Amanda and Curtis. Philip Keating with the 65 ft. dragger Island Princess went to the aid of Stephanie and Sisters that was fishing further offshore. The Island Princess broke the waves so Georgie and Jeffrey could get back . Georgie said if Jeffrey had give up bailing they would of sunk. The windows were beat out of the boats with seas as high at the spar would crash on deck. All boats were very lucky to make it home this trip.

There was seven hakers from Freeport that were caught out in this storm , Clifton Prime & Gregory Stark (Stump Jumper);  Lloyd Prime & Lindsay Prime (Ronda Roxanne ); George Crocker & Jeffrey Crocker ( Stephanie & Sisters ); Roger Thomas & Raymond Titus (Amanda & Curtis); Stanwood Albright & Dean Albright( Fundy Spray ), Bill Titus & Lawrence Taylor (Scotia Maid ),  Frankie Gillis (Peter and Patrick)


Nov. 30, 1993

Stump Jumper

Captain Dies, Three Saved When

 Lobster Boat Hits Ledge

November, 1993

By Caroline Norwood, from her book

Life on Brier Island, Nova Scotia

At 6:10 P.M., On the night of November 30th, the 42 foot lobster boat Stump Jumper hit Dartmouth Ledge at the tip of Long Island,  Digby County in St. Mary’s Bay. Three crew members survived. The captain and owner of the boat, Clifton Lee Prime, 62, was thrown from the vessel and died.

          The crew aboard Stump Jumper had just hauled their last string of traps at about 6 P.M. and were heading home. It was a good haul for the second day of the lobster season. Aside from Clifton, in the wheel house that night were Leonard Howard, his son-in-law; Gregory Stark, who had been fishing with Clifton for the past 16 years and Kendall Ossinger, making his first trip of the season aboard the Stump Jumper.

 On most trips, Clifton would have swung his boat towards the western side of Peter’s Island which divides the passage between long and Brier Island at the St. Mary’s Bay. Known locally as the Little Passage, it would have been the quickest route to Westport, where they would have gotten fuel and D.B. Kenney Fisheries.

 But after conversations on the VHF, Clifton learned that there were already several boats waiting to get fuel there, so he decided to head to Freeport instead to put his lobsters in the car. That route took him through the larger passage on the eastern side of Peter’s Island and that meant going around Dartmouth Point. The Stump Jumper struck the end of the ledge on the first of the flood.

          Capt. Roy Graham was a half-mile away, just off Big Cove Point, about to go through the little passage into Westport. On board his 41 foot vessel Kenny & Girls 5 with him were his daughter, Rosalind, 21; nephews Vance Dixon, 24 and Jamie Swift, 30.

  Roy said he heard Clinton’s call for help on the VHF. “He said he was on Dartmouth Ledge and asked if there were any boats around who could help him, we were there within 3 minutes. It all happened so fast,” Roy said.

  He said he was the first boat on the scene and when he arrived, the Stump Jumper was listing to port, parallel with the shoreline and being violently rocked by the seas. He gave Rosalind a portable Searchlight and sent her to the bow to keep the light on the disabled boat. At one point, while they were approaching the stricken vessel, Roselind yelled to her father that she could see rocks beneath their own boat. Roy said he dare not go in any farther at that time.

  Within seconds, a huge sea washed over the Stump Jumper washing Gregory Stark over the side of the vessel. He had earlier grabbed a lobster buoy that helped him stay afloat while Roy took his boat around to pick him up.

 “When we were trying to save Gregory, all we could see with the Searchlight was his fingertips. When I put the boat in reverse, that made a little kick which brought him back up to the surface. The three of us brought him aboard,” Roy continued.

 But this time, Clinton Tinker and his brother, Clifford had arrived on the scene. Clinton had been waiting in Freeport for Clifton to arrive when he heard the distress call on channel 6. Roy said both boats were standing by the stricken vessel when a huge sea lifted the entire boat clear of the water and set it down perfectly straight.

          You could see the whole length of the keel,” he said. Another sea knocked the stern of the Stump Jumper down into the deeper water. At that time, Clinton Tinker made a daring run towards the boat. The two remaining crewmembers on the stricken vessel, Kendall and Leonard, jumped for the rescue ship. Kendall landed amidships but Leonard only managed to grab the bow of the boat and was hanging on by his fingertips.

 Roy said he told Vance and Jamie to throw a life ring to Leonard. At this point, Leonard was yelling that he couldn’t hold on much longer. Roy said he told him to drop from the boat and grabbed the life ring. “When he did, we pulled him aboard.” Clifton could not still be seen on the Stump Jumper at that time. Leonard was cold but otherwise unharmed.

  Roy said his daughter Roselind had told him several times during the frantic moments of the rescue that the person in the dark blue clothing did not seem to be moving. Roy said Clifton had been knocked down several times by the heavy seas at one point did not seem to be able to get back up by himself. Eventually another wave would bring the awning and several crates down upon Clifton.

 Leonard told Roy they were not able to cut their lifeboat free and could not reach their life jackets because the boat was rolling violently, being continually swept by heavy seas. Clifton’s body was found about an hour and a half later amidst the debris of the Stump Jumper by Roy’s son Kenny.

My Brother Gregory Stark at the wreck

Carl Barnaby , Clinton Tinker , Vance Dixon , Rosaland Graham , Roy Graham , and Jamie Swift had saved these three men that tragic night and had received awards in Ottawa. How Roy Graham was able to see my brother Greg’s gloves deep in the water and be able to hook him is a miracle. They all received Metals of Bravery from Gov-Gen Romeo LeBlanc in 1995.

Digby Courier July 26, 1995

Findings of The Marine Investigation Report M93M0008

  1. The operator made a navigational error while making an approach to the harbour.
  2. While entering the harbour, the operator received a message respecting change in port of destination.
  3. The operator’s performance was probably impaired by the cumulative effects of his diabetic condition and work-induced fatigue.
  4. The operator had the “hands-on” control of the vessel and other crew members were not effectively deployed during the vessel’s entry into the harbour.
  5. The use of a very high frequency radiotelephone (VHF R/T) frequency other than that requested by Coast Guard Radio Station (CGRS) Yarmouth precluded effective direct monitoring of the Search and Rescue (SAR) operation.
  6. A helicopter could not be dispatched until the CCGS “WESTPORT” arrived on scene because of a lack of information on the “STUMP JUMPER”.
  7. The response to the distress by the “WESTPORT” and the helicopter was prompt and well within the established response times.
  8. By the time the “WESTPORT” arrived on scene, rescue attempts by the fishing vessels were under way, and the “WESTPORT” played a supervisory but passive role in the rescue.
  9. The actions by the fishing vessels show their lack of appreciation of the requirements of a combined SAR effort.
  10. There is no requirement for fishermen to meet health standards nor is there a requirement concerning hours of work; following the grounding, the operator was incapacitated.
  11. The operator lost his life because he did not wear any form of flotation device, was unable to swim, was in poor health and became incapacitated.
  12. The flooding of the cuddy and the loss of power precluded the crew from gaining access to the lifejackets.
  13. Difficulties were experienced in deploying the vessel’s inflatable liferaft and lifebuoy due to the violent motion of the vessel.

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