The Life Savers

The Life Savers (HM23WD)

Location: Eastham, MA 02642 Barnstable County
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Country: United States of America
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N 41° 50.61', W 69° 56.827'

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In the days before electronic navigational aids, the waters off Cape Cod with their hidden shoals held many dangers for passing ships, especially at night or during thick weather.
In 1872 the U.S. Life-Saving Service established nine stations on the outer Cape to aid vessels in distress. The Nauset Station was located here. During the early 1900's the U.S. Coast Guard replaced the Life-Saving Service and built the newer station you see today. Rescue techniques remained much the same.
The "surfmen" spent their days sharpening their skills and keeping their equipment ready. They drilled with surf boats, breeches-buoy apparatus, and signal flags. Men stood watch in the tower for ships in distress. At night they patrolled the lonely beach in shifts until dawn.
Surfmen on beach patrol lit brilliant red signal flares to warn ships in danger of running aground to "keep off".
If a ship wrecked close to shore, the life savers fired ropes out to its rigging with a small cannon, and hauled survivors in one by one on a "breeches-buoy" suspended from a pulley.
The life savers' most dangerous duty was the surfboat rescue on rough seas. The "tip-over drill" helped them to prepare for the worst.

The dedication of the surfmen is reflected in their unofficial
motto: "You have to go out, but you don't have to come back."
HM NumberHM23WD
Placed ByCape Cod National Seashore
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, December 18th, 2017 at 7:01am PST -08:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)19T E 421369 N 4632834
Decimal Degrees41.84350000, -69.94711667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 41° 50.61', W 69° 56.827'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds41° 50' 36.6" N, 69° 56' 49.62" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)508
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 2 Ocean View Dr, Eastham MA 02642, US
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