An antique lithograph print, in its original, and very detailed, hand carved gilt wood
and gold leaf frame, with mahogany border, and original wavy glass.
The lithograph above depicts a
with oil lantern in hand, and his dog, patrolling the
"NEW JERSEY COAST"
for possible ship wreck survivors.
Signed by Edward Moran
Copyright 1893 by Gebbie & Co.
by Gebbie & Hudson Co. Ltd.
21 1/4" L x 16 1/2" H
A wonderful piece of the Great South Bay Collection TM
PLEASE READ ON AS THIS IS
A GREAT PART OF AMERICAN HISTORY!!!
"THE U.S. LIFE SAVING SERVICE 1848-1915"
The first ships in America were relatively
small, usually about 100 feet in length.
Driven by sails, they were at the mercy of the wind.
Early navigation was not precise, so sailing on the open ocean was very dangerous
and time consuming.
Most ships traveled along the coastline.
Before railroads and automobiles, most cargo
in the U.S was moved aboard ships.
In 1789, 70,000 tons traveled by sea.
By 1830 the volume increased to 500,000 tons,
and just before the CIVIL WAR, the volume grew to 2.6 million tons.
This method of trade was called
Coasting meant navigating the dangerous rocks
and shoals along our coastline.
Ships were blown ashore by sudden storms or grounded in uncharted waters.
As more passenger ships began the coastal routes, the chance for loss of life was great.
Even if victims of shipwrecks reached the shore, they could expect little help.
In winter months, survivors might die of exposure on the isolated beaches.
In 1710 the crew of the
"SCHOONER NOTTINGHAM GALLEY"
was shipwrecked by a winter storm off
"BOON ISLAND MAINE"
The crew survived the wreck, however there was no food on the island.
They ate mussels and seaweed scrapped from the rocks until they lost
there fingers to frostbite, finally they resorted to
As early as 1786, Americans acted to help shipwrecked
The Massachusetts Humane Society built a shelter on
Nantasket Beach in Boston Harbor to protect survivors from weather.
Twenty years later, more boathouses were built
around primary ports,
and local volunteers used available boats and equipment to continue
the life saving efforts.
However, there was no formal training and long stretches of
barren coastline still remained without safe haven or assistance.
The Lifesaving effort gained strength from
charitable agencies and business concerns,
"LIFE-SAVING BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION",
"PHILADELPHIA BOARD OF UNDERWRITERS".
The Federal Government also attempted to reduce the
"Loss of Life"
by constructing lighthouses, improving coastal charts, and
patrol during the winter.
"THE NEW JERSEY COAST"
WAS PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS!!!
At the time, New York City, was the business
port in the hemisphere.
The dangerous approach to New York Harbor was a constant threat to
immigrants, and cargo bound for the city.
In the decade before 1848, 338 ships were wrecked along
the New Jersey and Long Island coasts.
A Congressman from New Jersey, Dr. William
Newell, sponsored a
bill to spend 10,000 dollars for a series of huts along his state's coast
to shelter the survivors of shipwrecks.
The Revenue Marine constructed the eight stations, the first at
Spermacetti Cove, near Sandy Hook, and provided some
equipment for volunteers to use.
Revenue Marine Captain, Douglass Ottinger,
surveyed what was available
at the time and purchased surf boats, mortars and
a recent innovation
Life Cars were enclosed, watertight metal boxes that could be hauled back
and forth between the shore and a wrecked ship by a guideline.
The Life Cars were particularly effective along the Atlantic Coast,
where storms and heavy surf would prevent rescuers from launching boats.
The Life Saving Service used primarily two
methods to rescue people
from distressed ships.
Surf boats or Lifeboats were used to reach those far from shore.
Ships that went aground close to the beach were assisted by the
Breeches Buoy or Life Car.
When ships were within a few hundred yards of the beach, the
lifesavers fired a projectile with a line attached over the ship.
There were fired by small cannons, the most famous was the
Once the line was fastened to the ship, a pulley system was used to transfer
the survivors to the shore in the Breeches Buoy or Life Car,
depending on surf conditions.
then chief of the Revenue Marine Division, organized the Life Saving Service
into one of the most efficient agencies in the Federal Government.
In 1878, he became General Superintendent of the service, the only person
to hold that position.
Summer Kimball helped create the biggest change in the Life Saving Service,
as Superintendent, he helped draft legislation that merged the
Life Saving Service, with the Revenue Cutter Service , into what we know today as
"THE UNITED STATES COAST GUARD"
Many thanks to
GERARDA K. MAST, Ph.D.
Beachwood, New Jersey
for her contribution of historical information to our website on
The Life Saving Service.
For more detailed information on the
Life Saving Service
please visit the following websites:
The Life Saving Heritage Association
The United States Coast Guard
The Tuckerton Seaport, a project of the
Barnegat Bay, Decoy & Baymen's Museum
120 West Main Street
Tuckerton, New Jersey 08087
"THE WIRELESS STATION"