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Lifesaving Act

This legislation was introduced in order to provide funding for station preservation. The bill was introduced, but needed support from our organization to identify all remaining structures of the US Life Saving Service and early US Coast Guard. This project was completed in 2008 and it awaiting National Park Services approval to distribute the inventory list. Once this is done, hopefully in 2014, the bill will be reintroduced similar to what is stated below.

United States Life-Saving Service
Heritage Act
1st Session
Introduced in the House, HR 904 IH
Introduced in Senate, S. 443

February 25, 2003
Mr. PALLONE (for himself and Mr. LOBIONDO) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Resources. It directed the Secretary of the Interior to establish a program to inventory, evaluate, document, and assist efforts to preserve surviving United States Life-Saving Service and early United States Coast Guard stations.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This Act may be cited as the `United States Life -Saving Service Heritage Act’.


(a) FINDINGS- The Congress finds the following:

  1. The United States Life -Saving Service was organized by the Congress by enactment of the Act entitled `An Act to organize the Life -Saving -Service’, approved June 18, 1878 (chapter 265; 20 Stat. 163 et seq.).
  2. These lifesaving stations were staffed by brave volunteer and professional lifesavers, who risked life and limb to rescue shipwrecked passengers and crews.
  3. Many surviving Life -Saving Service stations are of rare architectural significance, yet these historic stations are threatened by harsh coastal environments, rapid economic development in the coastal zone, neglect, and lack of resources for their preservation.
  4. The heroic actions of Life -Saving Service personnel deserve greater recognition, and their contributions to America’s maritime history should be celebrated through a comprehensive preservation program and greater opportunities for the public’s education about the heritage of the Life -Saving Service.

(b) PURPOSE- The purpose of this Act is to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to establish a program to inventory, evaluate, document, and assist efforts to preserve surviving Life -Saving Service stations.


(a) IN GENERAL- The Secretary of the Interior, through the National Maritime Initiative of the National Park Service, shall establish a program in accordance with this section to inventory, evaluate, document, and assist efforts to preserve surviving United States Life -Saving Service stations.

(b) INVENTORY, DOCUMENTATION, AND EVALUATION- The Secretary, in cooperation with the U.S. Life -Saving Service Heritage Association, shall-

  1. survey coastal regions of the United States to identify and prepare an inventory of surviving historic lifesaving stations;
  2. document the designs of significant existing structures and lifesaving boats of historic lifesaving stations, for inclusion in the Historic American Engineering Record Collection; and
  3. evaluate historic lifesaving stations, including–

(A) assessing the historic significance, integrity, and condition of surviving historic lifesaving stations; and
(B) making recommendations for outstanding examples of historic lifesaving stations that should be designated as National Historic Landmarks.


  1. serve as a clearinghouse of information for persons interested in preserving historic lifesaving stations; and
  2. make available to the public, including through the Internet, educational materials, research aids, guides, bibliographies, and other information regarding the Life -Saving Service and related organizations that provided humanitarian assistance to shipwrecked mariners, including–

(A) information on the history and development of the Life -Saving Service, predecessor private and State lifesaving organizations, and Coast Guard lifesaving stations;
(B) technical descriptions of lifesaving boats, line-guns, life cars, and other lifesaving gear;
(C) the inventory, documentation, and evaluation prepared under subsection (b); and
(D) guidance and technical assistance in the listing of historic lifesaving stations in the National Register of Historic Places.


  1. IN GENERAL- The Secretary, subject to the availability of appropriations, shall make grants to coordinate and assist preservation of historic lifesaving stations.
  2. COST SHARE- The Federal share of the cost of an activity carried out with financial assistance under this subsection shall not exceed 75 percent of the total cost of the activity.

(e) DEFINITIONS- In this section:

HISTORIC LIFESAVING STATION- The term `historic lifesaving station’ means any land, structure, equipment, or other physical artifact or facility formerly under the jurisdiction or control of the Life -Saving Service, including lifesaving stations, sailor’s refuges, shipwreck survivors’ cache sites, and lifeboats.
SECRETARY- The term `Secretary’ means the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the National Maritime Initiative of the National Park Service.

(f) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS- There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary–

  1. for use in making grants under subsection (d), $5,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2004 through 2008; and
  2. for carrying out the other provisions of this section $500,000 for each of fiscal years 2004 through 2008.

Photo Above: Lifeboat from the Coquille River Life-Saving station in Bandon, Oregon. Life-savers trained in all types of conditions, though it was left up to the discretion of the keeper to determine if conditions were too rough to go out.  The Coquille River crew was particularly bold on this day as they rowed over the river bar.  In the background is the small steam engine working on the construction of the north jetty at the mouth of the river.  (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard.)