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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Alex Daw said…
Surf lifesaving is an integral part of beach culture in Australia and highly valued, as demonstrated in reality tv shows. They tend to tend to wear a lot less clothing too ;)
La Nightingail said…
Neat picture and interesting info about surf lifesaving. We learn so much we might never otherwise know through Sepia Saturday posts. It is such a worthwhile endeavor!
Unknown said…
We've got an old Lifesaving Service station up in Portland, Doug...and somewhere I have a postcard sent there by a young girl to her father, who was stationed there.
Postcardy said…
I have never lived near a coast and didn't know there were so many well-equipped lifesaving stations. That's a lovely postcard.

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