Lifesaving Service

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LIFESAVING SERVICE. In 1789 the Massachusetts Humane Society began erecting huts on dangerous portions of that state's coast for the shelter of persons escaped from shipwrecks. The practice was made more permanent in 1807 when the society established the first lifesaving station in America in the area of Boston Bay. Thirty years later, Congress authorized the president to employ ships to cruise along the shores and render aid to distressed navigators, and in 1870–1871, Congress authorized the organization of a government lifesaving service. On 28 January 1915 this service merged with the Revenue Cutter Service to form the U.S. Coast Guard.


Noble, Dennis L. That Others Might Live: The U.S. Life-Saving Service, 1878–1915. Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, 1994.

Alvin F.Harlow/f. b.

See alsoCoast Guard, U.S. ; Lighthouse Board ; Navy, United States ; River and Harbor Improvements .