U.S. Life Saving Service

From 1848 to 1936, the intrepid rescuers of the United States Life Saving Service went forth to save the lives of those in peril from the sea.  The surfmen and keepers from the Ocean City Station and New Jersey’s 40 other life-saving stations performed rescues in the most dangerous and most heavily traveled section of the Atlantic seaboard.  Undeterred by hurricane-force winds or 40-foot seas, they rescued many survivors of storm and shipwreck, including some members of the crew of the famed Sindia wreck in 1901.

In 1840, William Newell, a young physician, witnessed a shipwreck off the South Jersey coast that took the lives of 13 sailors. Newell felt helpless in his desire to aid them.  He later served in the U.S. Congress, where he introduced legislation that led to the creation of the U.S. Life-Saving Service in 1871.

The Ocean City Station

This Ocean City station was called Beazeley’s Station until 1883.  Rebuilt in 1885-1886, it is the only U.S. Life Saving Service station left in New Jersey that was rebuilt according to the Service’s distinctive 1882-type design.  This design is both stunning architecturally, with its gabled roof and lookout tower, and highly effective in the use of space to house both boats and surfmen.

In 1905-06, the station was expanded to add a boat bay, a wrap-around porch, and other improvements. The footprint of the building was doubled, and the structure is the only surviving 1882-type station to be expanded according to the historic New Jersey Pattern.

In 1915, the U.S. Coast Guard absorbed the U.S. Life Saving Service and assumed control of the Ocean City Station.  It is the last of the three stations that were located on the island.  The others were the Peck’s Beach and Corson’s Inlet Stations.

The Station passed into private hands in 1945.

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