Life Lines August 2020

News Photo by Justin A. Hinkley

High Water Takes a Piece of History

An old U.S. Coast Guard boat house that once sat on Thunder Bay Island is seen on Saturday surrounded entirely by water as Lake Huron rises to record-high levels. The photo was taken from the upper deck of the Lady Michigan, whose crew said the boathouse will either be destroyed by this winter’s ice or taken down by the Coast Guard. The high water has caused millions of dollars in damage along the Great Lakes coasts, to private homes and public infrastructure.

I thought I would start this issue showing the record high water mark and its impact on the Great Lakes in 2020. This photo is Lake Huron. Lake Michigan is also high. South Manitou Island Life Saving and Coast Guard Station is also battling high water. For those of you who have made a trip to South Manitou Island, there has been a river running from the station to the lighthouse complex which sit 400 yards apart from each other for most of the summer. It’s been difficult to keep the station and family housing associated with the USLSS/USCG high and dry this season.

Welcome to Life Lines the monthly newsletter for members of the U.S. Life-Saving Service Heritage Association.  For those of you reading and have yet to join, please consider doing so. Your membership will get you access to the station inventory link and our new venture to create a “Surfmans’ Data Base.”   If you would like to join please go to


Publications Now Available as Print-on-Demand

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The two books that the USLSSHA produced are now available by print-on-demand at  Search for either “They Had to Go Out” or “Rescue: The Stories of the U.S. Life-Saving Service” edited by John Galluzzo.  If you have not added these two books to your library here is your chance to do so.


A Message from “Wreck and Rescue” New Editor Kenneth Arbogast

Photo USLSSHA Web Page

“Recently Debbie Allyn Jett finished her final edition as executive editor of the Wreck & Rescue Journal after eight years of impressive work. She will continue to contribute her research, writing and book reviews.

I volunteered to serve as editor of the Wreck & Rescue Journal because I have been fascinated by all aspects of the Life-Saving Service for nearly 40 years. Way back when the Coast Guard was still under Transportation, I enlisted, struck QM3 and then became a photojournalist. I served on the staff at the First Coast Guard District during both the Coast Guard Bicentennial and the Lighthouse Service Bicentennial. I served as editor of the First District’s newsletter, then as assistant editor of the old Commandant’s Bulletin, and later as editor of Coast Guard. I was privileged to have been stationed on the white-hulled icebreaker Mackinaw and later at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Ind., Kodiak, Alaska, and Washington, D.C., in addition to Boston. After the Coast Guard, I spent 19 years with the Forest Service as a writer/editor, public affairs officer, tribal liaison and, of course, Smokey Bear.

I look forward to working with Debbie, Nancy Viall Shoemaker, Carol Etzold, Patricia Ryder, Richard Ryder and David Schroeder to continue this great publication. I am also pleased that several skilled writers and editors have volunteered to assist, including Louis Berry, Ph.D., James D. Charlet and Reid Oslin.”

If you have an article to submit, a great photo or even a story idea, please don’t worry about deadlines. It’s never too late to tell the history of such a unique part of America’s history. Let us have a look, and we’ll try to work it into a coming issue. Please send submissions, suggestions or questions to [email protected].


Chronology of Coast Guard History

If you were looking for a link to a chronology of Coast Guard History here is that link.


Wallops Beach Station Again Looking for a New Home

Photo Credit: NASA

This call will stay in Life Lines each month until we determine that the structures have been saved or time has run out and they have been demolished. If you can help please do so now.

The Wallops Beach Station in Virginia needs someone willing to take and move the structures from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility. Both the station and the tower could be yours. NASA will demolish the structure in 2021 to reduce their mandated allotted square footage, but there is still time. If someone is interested in moving these structures please contact:

Steve Taylor
Realty Specialist
NASA Wallops Flight Facility
Bldg N-161, Rm 135
Work: 757-824-1194
Cell: 503-317-0073


USLSSHA Looking for Lesson Plans and Educational Guides

Photo Credit: National Park Service

Does your museum or facility have educational material relevant to the US Lifesaving Service history? We are updating our Educational Resources website page and would be happy to review your submissions for reference on our website. Please include proprietary and copyright information as necessary. Links to online resources are preferred, but if you have large files just send a short description and contact information and our Education Committee will reach out to you. Please send responses to


Hull Lifesaving Museum Illumination

Photo Credit: Hull Lifesaving Museum

For many years, the Illumination has been one of the most successful (and fun) annual events. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hull Lifesaving Museum (HLM) team has closely followed the data and we are deeply committed to the safety and health of our community.

In that spirit, they have figured out a way to reframe the annual Illumination event that retains the community spirit that visitors have grown to love and introduces new and exciting ways to celebrate Hull and the rich history of the Hull Lifesaving Museum!

THE DATE: August 8, 2020, socially distance in your own backyard with close family and friends.

If you would like to know more go to the Hull Lifesaving Museum web page and click on the illumination photograph.

The museum will be sharing great party ideas and program updates over the next few weeks so, please watch for updates and information on our Facebook Page!
The Hull Lifesaving Museum is adapting to the new reality of social distancing by developing more interactive online programs. You are invited to join in on the fun!


Coast Guard Welcomes New Commanding Officer to Helm of USCGC James

Photo Courtesy of USCG

Capt. Todd Vance took over command of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter James (WMSL 754) from Capt. Jeffrey Randall in a change of command ceremony at Coast Guard Base Charleston, Thursday.

Vice Adm. Steven Poulin, commander, Coast Guard Atlantic Area presided over the event.

Vance is arriving from Coast Guard Atlantic Area where he served as the chief of intelligence. He is a native of Fairfax, Virginia. He graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1996, and his first assignment was as a deck watch officer and first lieutenant on the USCGC Tampa.

His other afloat assignments include USCGC Farallon, Manitou, Key Biscayne, Legare. His shore side assignments include executive assistant to the Assistant Commandant for Intelligence, Plans and Policy Division chief for Technical Intelligence, Office of Law Enforcement 7th District, Office of Cutter Forces, Intelligence Coordination Center, and executive assistant for the Deputy Commandant for Operations. If you would like to read more go to:


Kittery, Maine is Going Virtual for the 2020 Annual Conference

Photo courtesy of Pat and Dick Ryder


The virtual U.S. Life-Saving Service Heritage Association annual meeting will be Saturday, September 26th from 1 to 3 pm EST. The cost will be free to anyone, member or not, that would like to attend. A registration will be sent to all of our Members and Life Lines Readers to determine the number of people interested in logging in.

This virtual conference is being hosted with the assistance of the Michigan Historic Preservation Network and we welcome their members who are also invited to join the annual meeting at no charge via their Zoom Platform.

The conference will include presentations by:

Fred Stonehouse, Great Lakes Author, who will present USLSS 101 to orient attendees to the history of the U.S. Life-Saving Service in the United States.

Sam Reid, Consultant, Wood Island Station, will present on the restoration of the station in Kittery, Maine.

Michael Rauworth, retired Maritime Lawyer, will present the history of the Nahant, New Hampshire Station.

Grace Truman, Author, will present on her group Save Our Station and their efforts to preserve the Vermillion Life Saving Station, Lake Superior, Michigan.

The presentations will be followed by a members meeting led by USLSSHA president Steve Marthouse. For this virtual meeting you will not be required to be a member to attend the members meeting. This gives non-members an opportunity to check out our projects and then decide if you would like to join us in the future.

If you are not a member or have not been to an annual meeting this gives you an opportunity to attend a virtual conference at no cost to you.

2021 Conference and Beyond

Mark your calendars for the 2021 Conference which is tentatively scheduled for Southport, North Carolina on September 23-25, 2021. We are in touch with the North Carolina conference planners and are monitoring the COVID-19 status in their State and will alert you when more information is known.

The on-site meeting in Kittery, Maine will be rescheduled in the future.

Watch this site and Wreck and Rescue for more information.

If you have a story to submit for the next Life Lines please contact us through our website.