United States Life Saving Service 

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The United States Life Saving Service, with roots in private and local government maritime rescue efforts, was funded by the government in 1854 and placed under the auspices of the Revenue Cutter Service  (USRCS).  Good intentions fell by the wayside and by 1870 funding and organization for rescue stations was not in evidence.  In 1878, by Act of Congress, the United States Life Saving Service was organized as a stand alone bureau of the Treasury Department. At the zenith of the USLSS over 270 life saving stations and life boat stations rendered aid to those in distress.   Reorganization in 1915 placed the USLSS back with the USRCS as part of the new United States Coast Guard.  Few of the original Coast Guard Life Boat Stations remain in active service along the coasts of the United States.  Many of the former stations are now attractions protected by the National Park Service or private museums.

For a thorough history of the formation of the USLSS see these off site links:
A Heavy Sea Running: The Formation of the U.S. Life-Saving Service, 1846 - 1878
Dennis R. Means,
National Archives, Prologue Magazine, Winter 1987, Vol. 19, No. 4 
Scribner's Monthly, The United States Life-Saving Service, 3 January 1880
US Life-Saving Service Heritage Association


USLSS Stations and Crews

Fletcher's Neck, Maine

Kenosha, Wisconsin

Interior of a Life Saving Station

Louisville, Kentucky

Port O'Conner, Texas

Jupiter Inlet, Florida
Boat crew and lady guests

Gilbert's Bar
Stuart, Florida
Photo taken post 1915 - US Coast Guard sign.

Gilbert's Bar
Stuart, Florida

Chicamacomico, North Carolina

Pensacola Beach, Santa Rosa Island, Florida
Circa 1910

Life Saving Station Crew and Apparatus Cart with life gun, line box, shots, hawser, breeches-buoy and signal lights, races through the sand to render aid to a ship in distress.

Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, 1903.  These men assisted the Wright Brothers in the first flight at Kittyhawk. Left to Right: Ward, Beacham, Etheridge, Daniels and Dough.

Artist print of a Life Saving Station rescue.

Life Saving Service Patch

Life Saving Service Logo