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coasts, and the earliest efforts in this direction were made by the Massachusetts Humane Society, formed in 1786 and incorporated in 1791. It commenced operations by the erection of huts for the shelter of persons escaping from wrecked vessels upon the exposed and desolate coast of Massachusetts. It has erected new ones and discontinued old ones from time to time as circumstances have required up to the present day, and now maintains eight of these huts and sixty-six stations, supplied with boats, rafts, mortars and other apparatus.

The Government has at various times granted pecuniary aid to this Society.

In 1848 the Government first gave its attention to the method of aiding stranded vessels by the establishment of stations, furnished with the means of effecting communication between such vessels and the shore. Under the direction. of Captain Ottinger, eight stations were erected on the coast of New Jersey, and supplied each with a metal surf-boat, a metal life-car, mortars, rockets, &c.

By 1854 one hundred and thirty-seven life-boats were stationed on the coast, including those belonging to the Humane Society of Massachusetts and the Life-Saving Benevolent Association of New York, a similar body founded in 1849.

Some of the Government Lifeboats were placed in charge of Lighthouse Keepers and officers of Customs, who generally took good care of them, but in a majority of instances they were placed in care of town corporations, which became forgetful of them, or of short-lived benevolent societies, which, expiring, left them to decay, or of private citizens, who became unmindful of their responsibility. The occasion of a wreck would bring one into use, and it would then be put in order, and kept ready for an emergency, but the Government does not appear to have exercised any supervision over the

boats, many of which were lost sight of, others were found in a decaying state, and some were appropriated to private use. One was used by the inhabitants as a public makeshift, being carted about from place to place, and made to do duty as a trough for mixing mortar and a tub for scalding hogs.

In 1853-54 great loss of life took place through the inefficiency of the lifeboat service, and in the latter year an Act of Congress was passed authorizing the appointment of a superintendent for each of the coasts, and a keeper for each station, also the establishment of many additional lifeboat stations; but these were not erected. No provision was made for the employment of crews, the stations being dependent upon volunteers, often difficult to obtain on the sparsely populated coast.

The service remained in this unsatisfactory condition until 1871, when many fatal disasters occurred within the limits of the operations of the service, and the circumstances showed beyond dispute that the loss of life was largely due to the want of proper attention to duty on the part of the officials, and the inefficient condition of the boats and apparatus; this was confirmed by a report from an officer instructed to inspect the stations, and a thorough reorganization of the service was determined upon.

The removal of incapable and inefficient officers, and the substitution of suitable men; the repair of the stations, and their equipments; the employment of selected crews at nearly all the stations, and the promulgation of a series of instructions, specifically setting forth the duties required of officers and men, were the first steps taken in order that the service might be placed upon as efficient a footing as possible for the approaching winter's work. Measures were also taken for the establishment of as many additional stations as were necessary to bring them within about three miles of each other, where natural obstacles did not prevent, with a view

of enabling each to summon, by process of signalling, its neighbours to its assistance when needed.

The stations of Life-Saving Service are divided into three classes. The first class are intended for exposed localities, destitute of inhabitants, where crews to render assistance in rescuing the shipwrecked cannot readily be collected, and where the means of sheltering and succouring the latter are not at hand, and also for flat beaches with outlying bars.

These stations are about 42 feet in length, and 18 feet in width, with a lower and upper storey, each divided into two rooms. One of the rooms below is appropriated to the proper arrangement of the boats, wagon, surf-car and other heavy apparatus; and the other is plainly furnished as a mess-room for the crew.

One of the rooms above is intended for the storage of the lighter portion of the apparatus, and the other is provided with a number of cot beds and suitable bedding.

This class of stations is established upon a portion of the Atlantic coast, and upon the Lake and Pacific coasts at a few points where such protection seems requisite.

The second class of stations is intended for localities where aid can readily be procured, such as the vicinity of large ports, where accidents frequently occur through the crowded state of the channels. At most of these places facilities exist of launching the self-righting and self-bailing lifeboat on the English system, therefore these stations are merely boathouses to contain the lifeboats, and a few other articles, the boats being manned by volunteer crews, to whom compensation is paid for services rendered upon each occasion of shipwreck, in the same manner that the English lifeboat crews are remunerated.

The third class of stations is designed exclusively for the coast of Florida, where the requirements for relief are widely different from those of any other portion of the seaboard, the

usual apparatus of the other classes of stations being for the most part unnecessary; shelter and the means of subsistence being the most essential requisites.

The stations are constructed of sufficient capacity to succour twenty-five persons; they are stored with provisions sufficient to sustain that number for ten days, during the months in which hurricanes prevail, and are placed under the care of responsible keepers, who reside in them. Each station is provided with a light surf-boat, supplied with oars and sails. The average estimated cost of each class of stations is for a

First class station and equipments,

or a complete life-saving station $5,303 or £1,093

Second class or life-boat station


2,995 "


Third class or house of refuge
The average total cost of an English lifeboat station is


Considering the high price of labour in America, the lifesaving stations in that country appear to be economically constructed.

As to the boats which are used on the Atlantic coast, it is exceedingly difficult for anyone accustomed to our English lifeboats to believe that such fragile looking shells can be effective as a means of saving life in the heavy seas which prevail on that coast. But the records of the service show that thousands of lives have been saved by the use of them, and that accidents to the men using them are extremely rare.

On many of the sparsely settled and sandy wastes which characterize the coast of Cape Cod and nearly the whole of the coast from Long Island to Cape Hatteras, the use of any selfrighting and self-bailing lifeboat yet devised would be impracticable for want of means of transportation, even if the shoalness of the water did not in nearly every instance preclude the possibility of launching it.

The model adopted is that of the cedar surf-boat in general use by the wreckers of the coast of New Jersey, with such improvements as could be suggested by an old and experienced surfman; but these boats do not possess any of the qualities which are in England considered so essential to a lifeboat, the only merits they possess being those of lightness (some weighing only 800 lbs.) and handiness; but the men are accustomed to the boats, and there is a great difference of opinion as to whether self-righting and self-bailing boats are after all preferable to the best surf-boats. During a severe gale at one of the Lake stations provided with an excellent lifeboat, the crew preferred to use one of the improved surf-boats, with which they rescued the crews of two vessels.

In all parts of the world the greatest difference of opinion exists among boatmen as to the best boat, and this is proved by the great variety in the types of boats used in different localities. The United States are no exception to this rule, and setting aside the fact that there are local circumstances which call for boats specially adapted to contend with them, an inquirer would find, on beaches essentially the same, among surfmen of the longest experience and soundest judgment, the most radical differences of opinion in regard to the ideal surfboat.

As stated in the reports of the service :-"One man will "insist that it should be broad in the stern; on another beach "it is demanded that the stern shall be sharp. Great sheer "is the insistance of this expert, less sheer the obstinate rejoinder of a second.


"In one opinion cork fenders are indispensable; another "surfman will strip them off the boat if sent him. The winds "do not blow in greater variety than is found in the views of "these practical adepts in the art of surfing."

In order to decide upon what improvements could be effected in the equipment of the stations, two Boards of Officers

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