Life Lines, March 2020

Life Lines

U.S. Life-Saving Service Heritage Association
March 2020

Nahant, N.H. Life-Saving Station

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












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.

All American Marine part of 47′ MLB life extension program

Photo Credit: Birdon America photo

All American Marine Inc. (AAM) has been named the West Coast shipyard by Birdon America Inc. for phase one of a contract to perform a Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) on a number of the Coast Guard’s fleet of motor life boats (MLB).


AAM is currently working on two MLBs at its shop, with a plan to ramp up to eight MLB vessels each year during phase two. Birdon America was awarded the prime contract to perform SLEP work on all MLBs in the Coast Guard’s fleet.  If you would like to know about this contract go to the following link: All American Marine part of 47′ MLB life extension program

The State of S.O.S. Vermillion, Michigan–Accomplishments

Photo Credit: S.O.S. Vermillion

Since 2017, we repaired the roof several times, covered holes in the walls, installed vents, put up a sign, cleaned up trash and debris, and installed both a brochure holder and a metal pipe for donations.  We also removed three additions that were too deteriorated to save, taking the station building back to its original footprint.

In 2019, a lack of funds prevented us from progressing on the restoration, but we did what we could with the money on hand; focusing on continued maintenance, education, and fundraising.  

Since education is part of our mission, we asked for and received permission from the Little Traverse Conservancy to put up an interpretative sign.  The text is finalized and the graphic design is almost finished.  We hope to put it up in the spring, as soon as the road to Vermilion is passable.

We also worked on the preliminary steps for a listing on the National Register of Historic Places and manned an exhibitor table at the Michigan History Conference, to raise awareness of our organization.


Membership dues and donations totaled $3,611.13 in 2019.  Expenses included the website yearly domain and hosting fee, research in the National Archives, building supplies, brochures, insurance, food for the annual meeting, postage, the annual Michigan Licensing and Regulatory Affairs filing fee, and office supplies.  Our expenses for 2019 totaled $1,702.32, leaving a balance on hand at the end of 2019 of $5,389.33, up from the 2018 ending balance of $3,480.52.

When we receive sufficient funding, the next steps are: selective demolition of wood framing on the foundation and first floor; bracing and raising the building to allow construction of new footings and foundation; installation of new gravel or poured concrete footings; construction of new treated wood foundation walls; lowering the building onto the new treated wood foundation walls; lowering the building onto the new foundation system; restoration of the first floor wood framing; and minor site restoration.  Since our architects on the board prepared specifications for the bid process, we will be ready to go as soon as finances allow.

A bit of encouraging news is that already in 2020 we received a $5,000.00 grant!

Grace Truman, president
S.O.S. Vermilion


New Book Published by IFP Contributor, James D. Charlet

Photo Credit: Island Free Press












While the outer bars of Cape Cod claimed over 3,000 ships from 1626 through the mid – 20th century, the men of the U.S. Lifesaving Service, which preceded the Coast Guard, were able to rescue countless sailors from death.

However, despite their heroic efforts, Mother Nature often proved to be too much of an adversary for the surfmen.

“Despite the celerity of the lifesavers, stranded vessels sometimes dissolve before the lifeboat can be got through the cordon of the surf and the inner bar breakers,” wrote the New York Herald in April 1911. “Life has been lost as the result of the almost instant dissolution of the ship.”

Unfortunately for the barkentine Bellmont, only a few members of her crew were able to be rescued after the 533-ton vessel, carrying a load of sugar from Cuba, crashed into the Peaked Hill sandbars on April 9, 1894.  If you would like to read more go to:


Town Breathes New Life in Quogue Station, Long Island, New York

The Town of Southampton is breathing new life into a historic building in East Quogue.  The Tiana Life-Saving Station was the second Coast Guard station in the country to be manned by an all African-American crew.  The crew answered the call to duty shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. 


The all African-American crew was part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s effort to integrate minorities into the military.  Between 1942 and 1944, the crew, including its commander, Chief Petty Officer Cecil R. Foster, protected the island’s shores against enemy attack. 


After the war, Tiana station was abandoned in 1946 and later transformed into a beach club under a variety of names, the latest being the Neptune Beach Club. The music stopped for Neptune in 2013 when the Town of Southampton purchased the land for $3.2 million.  If you would like to read more and watch a short video go to the following link:


Kittery, Maine is the Next Destination for the 2020 Annual Conference

Photo courtesy of Pat and Dick Ryder

The 2020 Annual Conference and Meeting will be in and around Kittery, Maine and will include stations between Nahant, Massachusetts along the coast of New Hampshire and to the southern edge of Maine.   The dates are September 24-26, 2020.  Mark your calendars and save some time to make the trip. 

If you would like to make your hotel reservation the conference attendees will stay at the Hampton Inn and Suites Kittery.  The cost will be $179/night.  Call and make your reservation at 800-445-8667 mention the U.S. Life-Saving Service Heritage Association.  You can also book your reservation online at Hampton Inn and Suites website and use Group Code:  USL.  The deadline to make hotel reservations to get the special rate is August 7, 2020.

Also mark your calendars for the 2021 Conference which will be held in Southport, North Carolina on September 23-25, 2021.  It’s never too early to make plans for all upcoming U.S. Life-Saving Service Heritage Association conferences.   We hope to see you in either Maine or North Carolina and will be thrilled when you attend both.

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.

Also consider joining the Life Lines staff.  If you would like to be the editor or would like to assemble a few of the issues a year, the help would be welcome.  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.