Life Lines, May 2019

Vintage Postcard of Coast Guard Station Oswego, New York. Courtesy of Fort Ontario State Historic Site

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

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.

Chronology of Coast Guard History

If you were looking for a link to a chronology of Coast Guard History here is that link.  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
Cell: (717) 552-3452
[email protected]

Wallops Beach Station to be Removed…Unless 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.  WFF has determined the station to be surplus and has ordered it to be removed from the site. Bids will be sought via the Federal Business Opportunities website:  By law, the building will go to the highest bidder, regardless of the bidder’s intended purpose.

Two options exist: removal of the station intact, or dismantling the station and re-purposing the materials.  The U.S. Life-Saving Service Heritage Association strongly hopes that the former occurs.

Several of our members have previously looked into moving the building by barge, and found it quite feasible, though not inexpensive.  It can be moved to any waterfront property that has a minimum three feet of water depth.  We can provide further information on this to any prospective bidder.

The Wallops Beach LBS was built in 1933 to replace the previous 1883 Life-Saving Station which was destroyed by a hurricane.  It remained in active service until 1947.  Further historical information and photographs can be seen on the sites listed below:

  • An extensive management plan was developed for NASA WFF in August

Integrated Cultural Resources Management Plan for Wallops Flight Facility

Included are exterior and interior photos.  The building has not changed significantly since this was published. 

  • A brief video of WFF:




Further information can be obtained from:

Steve Taylor,
Realty Specialist
NASA – Wallops Flight Facility
[email protected]
Office:  757-824-1194
Cell:  503-317-0073

USCG Cutter Named For USLSS Keeper

Photo Courtesy of Bollinger Shipyards

Bollinger Shipyards, Lockport, La., has delivered the 154’x25’5″x9’6″ Joseph Doyle, the 33rd fast response cutter (FRC) to the U.S. Coast Guard. The Coast Guard took delivery of the FRC earlier this month in Key West, Fla. 

Each of the new cutters is named for an enlisted Coast Guard hero who distinguished him or herself in the line of duty. This FRC is named after Coast Guard Hero Joseph Doyle.

Doyle was appointed keeper of the Charlotte, New York Life-Saving Station in July 1878. As keeper, he became known as one of the most distinguished surfmen of the U.S. Life-Saving Service. During 1878 with great skill and bravery, he achieved two impressive rescues. For his heroic actions during both rescues, Doyle was awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal on Aug. 2, 1879.  If you would like to know more please read more at this link: WorkBoat Bollinger Delivers

Come Celebrate National Maritime Day in Southport, North Carolina

Photo Credit: Southport Maritime Museum

For more information go to the website and social media sites and sign up for the events or plan on attending. or on

If people are wanting to register for the run they can access the registration here:

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

Photo courtesy of Fort Ontario State Historic Site


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 for 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 US Life-Saving Service Heritage Association. The hotel offers a free breakfast; and is located close to a pond with walking trail.

The conference agenda will cover stations at Oswego, Niagara, and Buffalo. Additional tours and programming are in the planning stages.  Some of the other activities being planned are a tour of Fort Ontario, and also an Erie Canal Tour by boat.  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.

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.