Not quite a Titanic find: Decrepit lifeboat in woods from same company whose lifeboats were in 1912 disaster

  • Kate Atkinson holds a picture of the brass plate that was attached to a boat discovered on her property. The plate details the boat’s maker and its specifications and has disappeared. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Dr. Kate Atkinson, of Atkinson Family practice, and Bell Stadnicki, the building manager at the practice, look over a boat found on a parcel of land bought by Atkinson. It is believed to be a lifeboat made by the same company that made the ones on the Titanic. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Dr. Kate Atkinson of Atkinson Family practice and Bell Stadnicki, the building manager at the practice, stand with a boat found on a parcel of land bought by Atkinson for clinic parking. It is believed to be a lifeboat made by the same company who made the ones on the Titanic. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • A boat found on a parcel of land bought by Kate Atkinson, of Atkinson Family Practice in Amherst. It is believed to be a lifeboat made by the same company that made the ones on the Titanic. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • The brass plate that was attached to a boat found on Kate Atkinson’s property details its maker and specifications. The plate has disappeared within the few days since the boat was found. CONTRIBUTED

Staff Writer 
Published: 9/30/2021 8:08:03 PM

AMHERST — After acquiring wooded land near her medical office building for additional parking, Dr. Kate Atkinson wasn’t expecting that a large metal lifeboat, similar to those on the ill-fated Titanic, would be hidden within the overgrown property.

“We’re proud boat owners,” Atkinson joked, observing that she closed on the land last week and that by early this week the 16-foot boat was found by contractor Jason Edwards.

A medallion attached to the boat indicated it was constructed in 1936 by Welin Davit & Boat Corp. in Newark, New Jersey. Welin Davit gained fame a quarter-century earlier for its lifeboats helping to save some of the people on the Titanic. 

The property on Research Drive is situated near Palley Village Road, a new neighborhood developed in recent years, and has been undisturbed.

“It had to be there for years and years to be covered with that amount of growth,” said Bell Stadnicki, the building manager for Atkinson Family Practice.

Unfortunately, in the short time since the boat was found, its medallion was stolen. The boat is in rough shape, with only two of the four wooden seats, to hold up to 12 passengers, intact, and its bottom rusted out.

Atkinson said the discovery has been a fun diversion during COVID-19, joking that for handling the work of getting the property ready for parking she had promised Stadnicki a gift.

“I told her I’d buy her a yacht,” Atkinson joked.


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