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Shipwreck Stories

No matter what else happened in their daily lives, the surfmen and keepers of the United States Life-Saving Service lived for – and feared – shipwrecks. The adrenaline-pumping first few moments after the words “Wreck ashore!” rang out reaffirmed for each man why he had chosen this career. The noble nature of the work, the chance to wrestle lives from the grips of the sea, to save a life, enflamed the spirit. Sometimes those rescues were completely successful; sometimes victims succumbed; sometimes the rescuers themselves needed rescue. The following shipwreck stories get down to the basics of the Life-Saving Service and its mission: to save the lives of men and women imperiled upon the sea.

Region – East Coast

Brave Men of Hull
By Robert W. Haley

Powerless: The Wreck of the Robert E. Lee
by John J. Galluzzo (Wreck & Rescue – Volume 5, Issue 4)

Region – Great Lakes

“Get the 36 Boat Going, NOW!”
By Fred Stonehouse (Wreck & Rescue – Volume 2, Number 4)

Braver Men Never Manned a Lifeboat
By Fred Stonehouse (Wreck & Rescue – Volume 1, Number 2)

Region – Pacific Coast

“Those Guys Got Plenty of Guts, Take it from Me”: Hilman J. Persson and the Rescue of the Crew of the Trinidad
By John J. Galluzzo

How Many People Will a Lifeboat Hold?
By Ralph Shanks (Wreck & Rescue – Volume 1, Number 4)