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Lifesavers’ Duties & Equipment


The Keeper and surfmen had a daily rigid schedule that was standard throughout the service.  The primary responsibility was to be on constant watch for ships in distress and to keep a record of passing vessels.  On clear days, from sunrise to sunset, a surfman on day watch always manned the lookout tower.  At night and on foggy days, the men walked beach patrol.  They would light coston signal flares to warn off ships straying too close to the shore.

While men with small-boat-handling experience were wanted in the service, it took extensive training and continual practice to be able to successfully launch a lifeboat or surfboat in heavy seas and shoot the Lyle Gun to a ship offshore to set up the breeches buoy. Just about every day required some sort of practice to be performed. Along with these practices were cooking, cleaning and maintenance and keeping things in good order. The men took turns serving as the cook.