Life Lines, September 2019

Life Lines, September 2019

U.S. Life Saving Service Heritage Association


Station Rochester, NY Photo Credit: United States Coast Guard Website

Have you made your reservations and have you signed up for the annual conference and meeting September 26-28, 2019, in Rochester, New York?  Time is getting short and your presence is requested.  Check out the USLSSHA website to see all of the latest and sign up while you are on site.

Welcome to Life Lines the monthly newsletter for our 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

Other ways you can support our organization is to volunteer your time to one of the committees:  membership, research, publications, grants, station inventory, surfmens’ registry, and also offering your time to be on the board of directors.  If you are interested in any of these opportunities please contact President, Mark Perni [email protected] who can direct you to the chairman of each of these committees. 

Most jobs can be done through email, and meetings are hosted through a conferencing center 800 telephone number, so meetings are done from the comfort and convenience of your home.  Of course, we are looking for board members who will travel each year to the annual meetings, but attendance at every one is not a requirement.  Board members can call in to the meetings to participate and still cast their votes.  If being on the board sounds like an opportunity you would like to explore, please reach out to us, by contacting Mark Perni [email protected] who can give you more information.

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 a dded 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.

Last Days of the Breeches Buoy on Cape Cod

Photo Credit: Marcia Bromley and Olivia Burke

Don Wilding of the Wicked Local Truro prepared a short story about the last two times that the breeches buoy was used on Cape Cod.  The breeches buoy was one of the great tools of the trade for the men of the U.S. Lifesaving Service and the U.S. Coast Guard during the late 19th century and first half of the 20th century, but by 1962, had become a historic relic.

On Jan. 16, 1962, the breeches buoy was used for the very last time on a Cape Cod beach, during the rescue of the seven-man crew from the Gloucester fishing vessel Margaret Rose, carrying five tons of halibut, off Wood End Light in Provincetown.

If you want to know more about these rescues go to the following link:

Coast Guard at Oregon Inlet Celebrate Coast Guard Day by Sharing Video

Coast Guard crews training in high seas outside Oregon Inlet in March 2018. [USCG image]

We all love to watch these videos so watch as a pair of 47-foot Motor Life Boat crews from Coast Guard Station Oregon Inlet practicing maneuvering in 10 to 12-foot waves from March 2018.  Station Oregon Inlet and Station Hatteras are two of the five U.S. Coast Guard surf stations on the East Coast, and are designated as such where the surf exceeds 8 feet more than 36 days out of the year.

S.O.S. Vermillion is in the News Again

Photo Credit: Little Traverse Conservancy Website

Local Michigan TV Station 9 & 10 made a trip to Lake Superior to see and interview members of S.O.S. Vermillion to see what progress they have made.  USLSSHA member Grace Truman was on site to be interviewed.  If you would like to see the video and get an update on the progress that has been made go to the following link:

New Cutters Midgett and Kimball are Posted

Photo Credit: An Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules aircrew flies over the U.S. Coast Guard Cutters Midgett and Kimball off Oahu on Aug. 16. U.S. Coast Guard/Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew West

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Midgett (WMSL-757) arrived Aug. 16 at its new homeport in Honolulu, the Coast Guard Pacific Area said in a statement.

The Midgett is the eighth of the Coast Guard’s national security cutters and the second to be homeported in Hawaii. Its sister ship, the Cutter Kimball (WMSL-756) arrived on Dec. 22. Both cutters were commissioned on Aug. 24 during a ceremony presided over by Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz.

If you would like to read more about these postings go to the following links:  and

The USLSSHA has again been asked to provide assistance to the Coast Guard in the compilation of background and biographical information for three cutters to be commissioned sometime next year, which are all to be named for other USLSS Gold Medal awardees:

Frederick T. Hatch-STA Cleveland Harbor, OH

William P. Chadwick-STA Green Island, NJ

John C. Patterson-STA Shark River, NJ

If anyone has period photographs of any or all of these three men and would be willing to share an electronic scanned copy (400-600 dpi resolution, preferably) for inclusion in the material please let the USLSSHA know.  Board Member Tim Dring will be assembling the information and if you have photos or relevant biographical information please contact Tim Dring.   [email protected] 

Since Tim lives in New Jersey he is familiar with Chadwick and Patterson, but could use some help with Hatch, especially from our members or readers who tend to specialize in the Great Lakes region USLSS stations and personnel. Tim’s goal is to have the final version documents to the CG by the end of this year.

Posthumous Awards Provided to Early Coast Guardsmen

Photo Credit: Courtesy Photo. Norman Finch on the Tampa with some of his shipmates January, 16, 1918.

The family of Seaman Norman Finch visited Coast Guard Station Chatham to receive the honor, bestowed by Admiral Andrew Tiongson, the Coast Guard District Commander. The ceremony capped a memorable day for the Finch family, which first visited the Route 6 overpass at Route 137, where the family attached a U.S. Coast Guard flag to the bridge. Accompanied by a motorcycle procession of police and honor guard organizations, the family then had lunch at the VFW before traveling to the lighthouse.

Local and state dignitaries attended the ceremony, and U.S. Rep. William Keating made remarks. On behalf of their family, Steven and Brad Finch accepted the medal and certificate, along with a flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol.  If you would like to read more about Norman Finch and the crew of the Tampa go to this link:

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

Photo courtesy of Fort Ontario State Historic Site

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

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 Rochester area.

Click Here To Visit The 2019 Annual Conference Page For Details

The conference hotel is the Holiday Inn Express, 850 Holt Road, Webster, NY. To make a reservation, call 585-872-0900. The hotel offers a free breakfast; and is located close to a pond with walking trail.

In Oswego, we’ll tour the H Lee White Maritime Museum and their 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. Also planned 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 on the early Buffalo LSS and the Pan-American Exposition in 1901. Then a talk about Gold Medal Life-Savers from the area. After lunch we’ll head to Station Rochester.

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