Surf Boats to the Rescue!

We have this week as our cue a solo person rowing a wooden boat. (see below)

I thought it would be nice to have an entire crew of men from the U.S. Lifesaving service who were stationed on Salisbury Beach. They stand proudly before their surf boats which carried many people to safety. The Salisbury Beach post was near the entrance of the busy and dangerous mouth of the Merrimack River in Massachusetts. I have had an interest in the history of this service which was absorbed into what is now today's U.S. Coast Guard in 1915. I was once a lifeguard on this very beach. Summers only of course!

These posts, and some were "out" posts, were built a just a few miles apart up and down the eastern seaboard usually near a busy port. I can think of  four of them that were within ten miles of this one. There was the  Hampton Beach station, Merrimack River station at Plum Island Point, The Knobs station on Plum Island, and Crane Beach station in Ipswich.

See how they kept there uniforms neatly clean and white? Those boats I'm sure were in immaculate condition as well. The "Keeper" or captain as they were referred to by the surfmen was a strict leader. He was responsible for not only the upkeep of the station but also training the crew. They were meticulous during inspections and kept track of everything at the station by detailed  inventory sheets.

They were responsible for saving anyone in a foundering vessel offshore. This turned out to be cold and dangerous work in the swirling waters of the Atlantic Ocean and Merrimack River.

At the turn of the 20th century, with more vessels powered by motor rather than sail, the U.S. Lifesaving Service didn't need as many stations located so close together. The Salisbury Beach station was closed in 1939.

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