Life Lines, June 2019

U.S. Life Saving Service Heritage Association

U.S. Coast Guard Station Rochester NY. Photo Credit: USCG May 2019

I was looking for an opening photo for this month’s Life Lines.  Since our annual membership meeting will be in Rochester, New York, I thought I would look for photos of that stations to get the stories started.  I noticed this one with the high Lake Ontario water levels, and having just returned from North and South Manitou Islands in Lake Michigan where water is higher there as well.  In fact, Lake Michigan levels are one foot higher than the previous record.  The high water seems to be everywhere on the Great Lakes.  Lake Superior is also registering high water level records for this year as well.  Expect to get your feet wet during this annual meeting if the lake levels don’t drop.

Welcome to Life Lines the monthly newsletter for our members, and also to anyone reading this that has not yet become a member 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 Join, Donate, and Support Here

I will provide you statistics from our organization’s membership chair.

Currently 345 on membership list.
96 are stations.
249 are people, organizations and museums
8 new members in 2019.
13 members deleted in 2019 so far for nonpayment of dues since 2017.
540 people on MailChimp list.

If you have renewed your membership, you are the best.  If you have not, please do so immediately.  For those 540 of you on the MailChimp List that are not members, “Don’t Be That Guy.”  Go to the link above and donate now.  There are many categories at all price ranges.

This is a volunteer run organization putting out a first rate magazine, a fine monthly newsletter, and completing special projects like the Station Inventory, and Surfmans Registry.   You get access to all this and more when you join.

If you don’t want a membership, gift one, or ask to sponsor a Small Boat Station.  There are still stations out there that need a membership and you could be that sponsor.  Come on, what are you waiting for.  We need all of you to open your wallet and be a friend to the cause.  I promise it won’t hurt, you will feel a warm spot in your heart and our Membership Chair will send you a heart-felt “thank you” in the mail.  I’m counting on all 540 of you to start contributing so I’ll see membership numbers climb in the next membership report.

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  Click here for 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.


Chronology of Coast Guard History

If you were looking for a link to a chronology of Coast Guard History- Click Here For Chronology of Coast Guard History.  I will leave it permanently on Life Lines for you to access each month. I found this really useful and interesting.

National Surfman Registry


Photo courtesy of the internet. Pre-WW2 USCG ‘SURFMAN’ US LIFE SAVING SERVICES US L.S.S. Insignia Set

The USLSSHA is aware that several other members of our organization have done research on specific stations in regards to developing a surfman registry. The goal of the USLSSHA’s National Surfman Registry Project is to have a complete roster for all of the USLSS Stations from their beginning through the 1940 time frame. Once completed it can be searched by those looking for family members and follow where they served, or to be used for those conducting research. 

If you are working on a similar project please let us know so that we can share the format that we have created for this project. By using a standard format, it will allow us flexibility to search on specific criteria as we go forward.

If you are interested in helping with the research, let us know. We will be happy to explain the process we are using when we go into the National Archives. Since we are using the Station Logbooks as our primary information source, if you live near national archive sites Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, or Seattle and are interested, we’d love to get you involved.

If you have done research at the National Archives before, we can bring you up to speed quickly. If you’re a novice, we will gladly work with you. All you need is the time, a digital camera and patience. Perhaps if there are multiple individuals from the same area interested, we could put them in contact with each other and form teams.

If this project interests you and you would like more information or to get involved, please feel free to contact Steve either by email or phone.

Steve Marthouse

(717) 552-3452

[email protected]

Wallops Beach Station SAVED!–Someone Steps Up to Save It.

Wallops Beach Station. Photo Mike Carlson

The Wallops Beach Lifeboat Station resides in the NASA – Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) on Wallops Island, Virginia.  According to Steve Taylor, Realty Specialist a local group has stepped forward and would like to save it.

There was some confusion on the part of the federal government about how to dispose of the station which bought time for the local group to organize.  Apparently Federal Procurement said it isn’t a procurement action so they couldn’t list it on FedBizOps.  GSA said it has no value so they can’t list it on their real estate website and NASA doesn’t have a website to list things like this.   

Federal bureaucracy at its finest. 

In the meantime a non-profit group backed by old Eastern Shore money measured the station and the barge dock and they think they will be able to take it. 

We’ll let our readers know more when we hear more.


Alaska Man Given Coast Guard Medal Years After Girl’s Rescue

Photo Credit: Anchorage Daily News

An Alaska man has received the U.S. Coast Guard’s second-highest civilian honor for saving a girl from drowning when they were both children more than 20 years ago, a report said. George Lambert received a silver lifesaving medal in Anchorage Saturday for rescuing Pamela Smith, The Anchorage Daily News reported Saturday.

The award was presented by Coast Guard Rear Admiral Matthew Bell Jr., who told the story of the rescue during a ceremony attended by Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

Lambert and Smith were among a group swimming at a sandbar near Kotzebue in northwest Alaska in 1998 when he was 10 and she was 12. Smith was pulled into the current, and Lambert took a life jacket and swam out 100 feet (30 meters) to tow Smith to safety, Bell said.  Read The Full Story Here

Atlantic Rowboat Rescue Earns Coast Guard Coxswain Trophy

Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric Thornton, a surfman and boatswain’s mate at Coast Guard Station Barnegat Light, and recipient of the 2018 Cdr. Ray Evans Outstanding Coxswain Trophy, operates a 47’ motor lifeboat near Barnegat Light, N.J., May 9, 2019. Photo Credit: WorkBoat

A rescue of a man attempting a trans-Atlantic rowboat crossing and caught in a northeast gale has earned a Coast Guard surfman the service’s annual award for small-boat handling and leadership.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric Thornton’s duty section at Station Barnegat Light, N.J., launched their 47’ motor lifeboat June 3, 2018, when the Coast Guard Rescue 21 system directed them to a mayday call from rower Duncan Hutchinson, beset by heavy seas in a nor’easter about 20 miles off the New Jersey coast.

Hutchinson had just launched his trans-Atlantic attempt from New York Harbor, a 3,200-mile expedition to raise money for WaterAid, a charity that provides safe water and sanitation to impoverished communities around the globe. Hutchinson, a 52-year-old offshore oil worker, designed and built the vessel to make the crossing from the U.S. to his native Scotland.

Thornton, who hails from Turlock, Calif., and is a qualified Coast Guard surfman and boatswains’s mate, took his crew out Barnegat Inlet into 12’ breaking waves to locate Hutchinson. They got the rower safely aboard and returned to make a challenging transit over the Barnegat bar, pursued by 12’ to 14’ breaking waves. Read The Full Story Here

Rochester, New York is the Location for the 2019 Annual Conference

Photo courtesy of Fort Ontario State Historic Site

The 2019 Annual Conference and Meeting will be in Rochester, New York.  The dates are September 26-28, 2019.  We’ll travel east on the Seaway Trail to Oswego one day and west to Niagara one day. We’ll also spend one day in the Charlotte area (suburb of Rochester).

The conference hotel is the Holiday Inn Express, 850 Holt Road, Webster, NY. They are holding 20 rooms for us: 10 with double queen beds and 10 with a king bed. Dates for the reservations are Wednesday, September 25 – Saturday, September 28. The nightly rate is $119 plus tax. To make reservations, call 585-872-0900 and tell the front desk you are part of the U.S. Life-Saving Service Heritage Association. The hotel offers a free breakfast; and is located close to a pond with walking trail. This offer ends August 26, 2019. BOOK NOW!

In Oswego we’ll tour the H Lee White Maritime Museum and their 1943 tug boat. On to Fort Ontario which is on the bluff just above the site of the former 1876 Oswego Life-Saving Station. We’ll hear about the life-saving stations in that area, the USCG moving boats on the Erie Canal and the 1942 incident which took the lives of 6 Coastguardsmen.

Our tour west will begin with a 2 hour boat ride on the Erie Canal which will take us past five of the original 1800’s locks. Next will be a tour of Station Niagara, built in 1893, and still in use as a CG station. In the works is a brief stop at Niagara Falls to see the site of a dramatic breeches buoy rescue in 1918 performed by the crew of Station Niagara.

Saturday will be our business meeting followed by a presentation by Francine Glassic who has dedicated years to researching surfmen burial sites.  We’ll head north to the Coast Guard Auxiliary facility in Charlotte. Then on to Station Rochester.

The dinner and auction will be at the Rochester Yacht Club, next to the site of the original 1876 Charlotte LSS. BRING ITEMS FOR AUCTION!

Watch this site and Wreck and Rescue for more information.  Mark your calendar now.

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

Also consider joining the Life Lines staff.  We are now three and more are welcome to join us.  If you wanted to have a role or contribute to the organization this is your opportunity to do so.