The United States Life-Saving Service Stations & Crews

The United States Life-Saving Service Stations & Crews (HM1ZAL)

Location: Virginia Beach, VA 23451
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Country: United States of America
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N 36° 51.139', W 75° 58.53'

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The Old Coast Guard Station Maritime Museum

In 1871 Congress created the United States Life-Saving Service (USLSS), an organization dedicated to rescuing the men and woman whose ships wrecked off of the United States coast. The USLSS built a total of 285 stations across the country. Five stations serviced present-day Virginia Beach: Cape Henry, Seatack, Dam Neck Mills, Little Island, and False Cape. The original Seatack Life-Saving Station was built in 1878, and was located about 200 feet north of its current location. In 1903 the USLSS built a new larger station (this building) at Seatack and later renamed it the Virginia Beach Life-Saving Station.

The USLSS operated until 1915 when it merged with Revenue Cutter Service to form the United States Coast Guard. The Coast Guard decommissioned the Virginia Beach Life-Saving Station in 1969, the citizens of Virginia Beach saved the building from being torn down and turned it into a museum.

(top right) The stations were run by a Keeper and his crew of surfmen. At first, the stations were only manned in the "active season" (September to May) but it was soon determined an effective service needed to active year-round. The surfmen kept watch from the tower all day and night and patrolled the beach on foot. The USLSS had three requirements for working at a Life-Saving station: a man
had to be of high moral character, physically capable of doing the job, and knowledgeable about the area.

(bottom right) The above photograph shows surfmen using the breeches buoy to rescue the crew of the ship. The breeches buoy was one of three methods of rescue used by the USLSS. The other two were the surfboat and the lifecar. From 1878 through 1915, the USLSS is credited with saving approximately 175,00o lives.
Placed ByThe Virginia Beach Historic Preservation Commission
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, July 1st, 2017 at 3:01pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 413035 N 4078933
Decimal Degrees36.85231667, -75.97550000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 36° 51.139', W 75° 58.53'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds36° 51' 8.34" N, 75° 58' 31.8" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)757
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling North
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 2401 Atlantic Ave, Virginia Beach VA 23451, US
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