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Near Dewey Beach in Sussex County, Delaware — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

United States Life-Saving Service

Struggles with the Sea

 
 
United States Life-Saving Service Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), May 16, 2020
1. United States Life-Saving Service Marker
Inscription.  
In the 1870s, the United States Life-Saving Service (USLSS) was established to aid the victims of shipwrecks on American shores. The service featured a network of stations, with seven or eight men — called surfmen — who lived together during the harshest seasons of the year. There were six stations situated on Delaware's coast, one of which was Station Indian River.

Each night, the surfmen patrolled the beaches on foot, scanning the waters for signs of ships in distress. Stations were five to seven miles apart, so surfmen could cover the entire coast on their nightly patrol. If one of the men spotted a shipwreck, he would summon the others, and they would venture out with the necessary equipment to rescue the crew and passengers aboard the stranded ship. Since the Indian River Inlet was particularly difficult to navigate, the Indian River Life-Saving crew responded to more wrecks than their neighboring stations.

The USLSS merged with the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service in 1915 to form the United States Coast Guard. The Indian River Life-Saving Station, located just 1.5 miles
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north of the inlet, remained an active Coast Guard station until March 1962. In the Ash Wednesday Storm that year, winds and high tides damaged the structure and filled the first floor with sand and water. The Coast Guard decommissioned the station the following day and built a new station.

Restoration of the original station began in the mid-1990s to turn Station Indian River into a museum to share the story of the surfmen and the role they played in Delmarva's rich maritime heritage. The museum is now the information and educational center for Delaware Seashore State Park, featuring history, nature and recreation programs throughout the years.
 
Erected by Delaware State Parks.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Charity & Public WorkParks & Recreational AreasWaterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Delaware State Parks series list. A significant historical month for this entry is March 1962.
 
Location. 38° 36.534′ N, 75° 3.798′ W. Marker is near Dewey Beach, Delaware, in Sussex County. Marker can be reached from Inlet Road, 0.6 miles south of Coastal Highway (Delaware Route 1), on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Rehoboth Beach DE 19971, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the
United States Life-Saving Service Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), May 16, 2020
2. United States Life-Saving Service Marker
crow flies. Sand Bypass System (a few steps from this marker); Charles W. Cullen Bridge (within shouting distance of this marker); Indian River Inlet and Bridge (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Sand Bypass System (about 600 feet away); Catching Waves (about 700 feet away); a different marker also named Indian River Inlet and Bridge (approx. 0.2 miles away); Shipwreck of the Faithful Steward (approx. 1.3 miles away); Veterans Memorial (approx. 1.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Dewey Beach.
 
Additional keywords. USCG
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 17, 2020. It was originally submitted on May 17, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 183 times since then and 36 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on May 17, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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May. 27, 2024