First "standard" version pulling surfboat adopted by the Life-Saving Service in the early 1870s, with design based on square-stern surf fishing boats then in common use along the coast of New Jersey. Photo courtesy of life-savingservice.org.

A little piece of Kimball’s legacy of standardization

Lt. Brendan Rogers was researching a figure in Coast Guard history for a presentation on organizational change when he came across a letter written by the Honorable Sumner Kimball. Kimball was an administrator whose work was pivotal in standardizing and organizing the U.S. Life-Saving Service that soon merged with the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service to form what we know today as the U.S. Coast Guard.


The Long Blue Line: Keeper Haines and the hurricane that obliterated Galveston Lifesaving Station

In 1900 a hurricane struck Galveston, Texas, obliterating a lifesaving station and killing thousands. The storm unleashed winds of approximately 150 mph and the storm surge flooded the city. The station’s keeper and his crew had little forewarning of the storm, but they could sense that something was brewing in the Gulf of Mexico.


225 Years of Service to Nation

225 years of Service to Nation: Coast Guard lineage

When many think about the Coast Guard, they think of the modern, sea-going service that remains ‘Always Ready’ to answer calls for help. But where did our Nation’s Coast Guard come from? The Coast Guard traces its history directly from the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service, or RCS, created on Aug. 4, 1790 to protect the nation’s revenue laws at sea and to discourage smuggling, which had become a national pastime.


On patrol

Mounted beach patrol: When the service saddled up

Beach patrols were normally done on foot, going back as early as 1871, when the Life-Saving Service, a predecessor of the modern Coast Guard, used foot patrols to watch the coastlines for ships in distress. The service used horses to haul boats from storage sheds to the launching point to rescue crews from ships run aground. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the wartime beach patrol was put into action and the seagoing service saddled up in 1942, when horses were authorized for use to patrol U.S. beaches. Using the horses allowed the patrols to cover far more territory faster and more easily than men on foot.


Still going strong after 214 years together: The U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Public Health Service

Written by Lisa Novak, Coast Guard media relations. When you deal with your Coast Guard pharmacist, you’re dealing with someone who has more than just medication behind the pharmacy window. There’s a whole lot of history and maybe a hurricane […]


U.S. Life-Saving Service

History – Milestones of the U.S. Life-Saving Service

Post Written by William H. Thiesen, Ph.D., Atlantic Area Historian Coast Guard history has been shaped in no small part by the nation’s response to natural and man-made disasters. Nowhere is that lesson clearer than in the evolution of the […]


Then and Now Part 2: Putting the SEARCH in Search and Rescue

Post written by LTJG Ryan T. White Let’s go back in time, to the mid-1800s, on the sparsely populated east coast. You are wearing the uniform of a surfman, assigned to a U.S. Life Saving Service station in New Jersey. […]